In a beer-centric town, the City of San Diego’s first professional cider venture — Newtopia Cyder — needed to come out swinging.
So after first welcoming patrons in January of this year, the company went on to win both gold (for Chai Me A River) and bronze (for Semi-Sweet) in the specialty cider & perry category at the San Diego International Beer Festival’s competition less than four months after opening in Scripps Ranch.
Now, co-founders / husband & wife duo Rick Moreno and Jennifer Hays Moreno are in the process of launching four new projects: a high-gravity bar, a distillery, an estate orchard, and a satellite tasting room.
Two suites down from Newtopia Cyder will be the home of Hunter’s of Hendrix, a 25-tap bar serving craft beers over 9% ABV, two dedicated lines for wine (one white and one red), plus cold brew and kombucha. The location’s liquor license will also allow servers to work with craft spirits, and a bottle shop will host beverages for to-go purchases.
On the food side, expect a deli, pizza, and house-cured meat and seafood charcuterie boards. Adding a local twist, Rick is working with butcher shops in Fallbrook and farms in Julian to source menu items. “We’re feeding our apple pomace to a pig that’s being fattened up for us,” Moreno told SDBT. “We’re planning to serve apple ham when the bar opens in February of 2018.”
The name of the bar pays homage to a gentleman named Hendrix who took care of the livestock for the Scripps family behind the Scripps Ranch name.
In between Hunter’s of Hendrix and Newtopia Cyder sits the future site of Newtopia Spirits, occupying 4,500 square feet of which 3,000 will be dedicated to barrel storage. Rusty Figgens, who previously managed cider operations for the company, will become the master distiller specializing in brandies. ETA: January 2019.
Just north of Scripps Ranch, at the end of Scripps Poway Parkway, Newtopia owns 10.5 acres of land. The Moreno’s are looking to break ground on January 1, planting a six-acre orchard, a two-acre vineyard, and a two-acre farm.
“We’re also building a working barn to age spirits, and a few pre-fab homes for a working staff who will live on the property,” said Moreno, who added that Newtopia will invite elementary school groups to visit and learn about agriculture.
Further north, in San Marcos, Newtopia is working on a satellite tasting room at “Block C in North City.” That combination of apartment complexes and businesses is also home to the URGE Gastropub & Common House, as well as Stella Public House and Halcyon Coffee. ETA: Q1 of 2018.
The Moreno’s have engrained themselves into the San Diego beverage scene through a multitude of collaborations with local and regional producers, including a house cider called Sleepless in Sumatra that features a rotating list of San Diego coffee roasters, a “Ciderweisse” with Thunderhawk Alements, a graf (cider/beer hybrid) with Second Chance Beer Co., an apple gose with The Homebrewer, an apple barleywine with Pure Project Brewing, a “wet-hopped” cider with hops from Ramona’s Star B Ranch, a Belgian beer/cider blend with Pariah Brewing, various savory ciders featuring farmers market produce with The Cork & Craft, and a horchata cider with Tijuana’s Cerveceria Insurgente.
Last week, Rick teamed up with Tom Nickel of Julian’s Nickel Beer Co. on a seasonally-inspired apple pie ale, and this week will see the release of a barrel-aged, cinnamon and candied pecan cider collaboration with Cutwater Spirits.
Newtopia Cyder has four upcoming tap takeovers scheduled in San Diego: Urge Rancho Bernardo (November 5), North Park Beer Co. (November 12), Tribute Pizza (November 21), and Coin Op North Park (November 22). You can also find them at the Hard Core Cider Tour (November 4) and the Del Mar Craft Beer & Cider Fest (November 25).