Off Central: Arizona brothers tap into craft cider making to help veterans
PHOENIX — Two Arizona brothers are launching the state’s first cider house and taproom on Veterans Day in an effort to produce high-quality drinks and bring awareness to veterans’ issues.
Jason and Josh Duren decided to take a bite out of the craft brewery apple shortly after Jason returned from serving in Afghanistan in 2014.
Jason said he hit two improvised explosive devices five days apart in 2012, leaving him with traumatic brain injuries to deal with.
“The second was enough to eventually end me up medically retired,” he said. “So in 2014, I was done. This is my new way of serving.”
The brothers decided to open Cider Corps — the state’s first cider house and taproom — this year.
Their mission was to “craft high-quality ciders while promoting awareness to the many issues facing veterans when they return home.”
The brothers’ ciders can be found in as many as 45 places across the state, from Prescott to Tucson to, of course, right here in the Valley.
“There’s been a constant excitement because we kind of started…not just distributing one flavor,” Josh said.
The brothers are working toward developing a dozen different flavors, from “prickly-pear hop, to a pumpkin-pie cider for the season, to bitter grapefruit,” Jason said.
The men will be opening a tap room at their location in downtown Mesa on Veterans Day and will offer food and ciders all day long.
One of the final touches on the tap room? A long bar and tap handles — that resemble grenades. But don’t worry, Jason said, when the pin is pulled, only delicious cider comes out.
The room also features an American flag with the words “We the People” above the bar.
“The people in here, ‘We the People,’ we’re the ones that have the ability to change the lives of these veterans,” said Josh.