Apr. 7—They've been making and selling their hard cider out of a hard-to-find warehouse off of North Rock Road since July of last year.

But find it people have, and now, Denise and Kenneth Gardner — owners of White Crow Cider Company — are ready to expand. The couple announced on Wednesday that they'd purchased a building in downtown Wichita where they'll open a new tap room and production facility. They're hopeful that they can have it ready to go in six months.

The space is a new 6,500 square-foot metal building at 1236 E. Waterman — near the corner of Waterman and Pattie — that the Gardners will be able to customize. They're planning to use about 2,000 square feet of the space for the tap room and the rest will be devoted to production.

The move will allow them to be able to start selling their cider by the glass. Until now, they've been operating out of a tiny space at 1719 N. Rock Road, Suite 133, just behind Havertys furniture. Though they had a counter where they could offer samples, the space wasn't zoned for them to sell the cider by the glass.

But business has been good, and the Gardners say Wichita is ready.

"We feel like this has been a good proof of concept," Kenneth Gardner said. "It looks like there's enough interest that it's worth us moving to a bigger building and scaling it up."

The cidery won't serve food, but the owners do hope to be able to add some outdoor seating.

Six years ago, the Gardners spent the summer living in Bristol, England, and they loved the hard cider they found in local pubs. But when they got back to the United States, the cider they found was mostly the super-sweet stuff that comes in bottles, and that's not what they wanted. So they started making their own in their basement and sharing it with friends. Soon, they realized their hobby could be a business.

White Crow is the only cidery in Wichita, and it has been selling six different varieties in 32- and 64-ounce growlers. Denise — the main cider maker — puts her own stamp on the ciders by adding things like cinnamon, ginger, cranberry, oranges and Chai tea.

Until the tap room is ready, customers can continue to get their growlers filled at the production facility on Rock Road.

I'll keep you posted on the progress.

(c)2021 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)

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