Autumn leaves, apple trees, cider please!

By John Garvey

Summit Hard Cider and the crisp autumn air are as complimentary as a guitar and a mandolin. 

 Photo courtesy Scrumpy's Hard Cider

Photo courtesy Scrumpy's Hard Cider

Jennifer Seiwald, owner of Scrumpy’s Hard Cider Bar (home base for Summit’s production), speaks of her craft with an ever-present smile and contagious enthusiasm. Her discerning taste for quality libations owes much to her upbringing.

“Without throwing my parents under the bus too much, I should probably admit that they always let me have a little taste of things here and there,” Seiwald says. “And they helped me develop a better palate than I realized. So, when I became an adult, there were a lot of things that I could recognize in beer, wine, ciders and other alcoholic beverages that I just thought everybody understood.” 

Jumping forward a few years, Seiwald now uses her early experiences to help overcome the challenges of running an urban cidery. Getting creative to ferment cider commercially in northern Colorado’s dry climate is among the challenges. It takes 10-15 pounds of apples to ferment a gallon of cider. 

Enter the Community Orchard concept. Individual households with apple trees can register with Branch Out Cider, which Scrumpy’s acquired last year. Around 350 households contribute apples for cider production and Branch Out hosts a members-only harvest party each year. This year’s release will be available any day.

“I love the fact that I can use local fruit,” says Seiwald. “I love the agritourism element that hard cider provides.”

 She said her work history, which included everything from financial planning and banking to science classes and cider classes helped lead her to producing hard cider.

“I see that hard cider is where the craft brewery world was anywhere from 25 to 15 years ago,” says Seiwald. “I think that it’s going to continue to grow. 

Scrumpy’s is based in a 112-year-old building, and what makes the taproom so great is that the fixtures are repurposed from old — and I mean old — buildings. If you’ve been in, you’ve likely sat in booths made from 140-year-old church pews from Ellsworth, Kan. You may have quenched your thirst sitting under light fixtures from an old church rectory in Ogden, Utah. And that fireplace? It was salvaged from a condemned 1911 duplex in Denver.

It all suits Seiwald perfectly. “I love being in historic old town,” she adds.

- A business journalist and freelance writer, John Garvey writes about architecture, sustainability, clean energy R&D and anything that entertains and inspires.  View his portfolio at