Brooks Dry Cider is the creation of Brooks Bennett, who grew up in Hancock Park, Windsor Square, and for six years, London. In London, living with his sisters and parents, Carolyn and Jamie Bennett, now of Hancock Park and Ojai, Bennett became aware of drinking cider, available in pubs (where the drinking age for cider is 16). The influence of a British drink alongside a “desire to create something reminiscent of living abroad” led to his current career of making this fermented apple brew.
Bennett learned about the cider industry while working at a cidery in northern Michigan after graduating from college in Washington D.C. Cider, although it has a similar appearance to beer, is more akin to wine in its production. Apples have to be harvested and pressed, leaving the juice to be fermented to create the final product. Working the production process in Michigan gave Bennett a foundation upon which to build his own cider business.
Bennett is now based in San Francisco. Since his first fermentation of Brooks Dry Cider in 2014, he says he has experienced the many challenges and successes that come with owning a business. The biggest challenge so far has been working without a team. However, Bennett states that the positive side of this challenge is that it has “made me work harder.”
Recent success has come in the areas of design and distribution. After searching for the right graphic designer for a few years, Bennett was happy to see the design for his cider branding come to fruition — and even more pleased to receive several awards for the packaging design. The packaging and label feature the grizzly mascot, Brooks the bear, enjoying California by skydiving, cycling, riding a motorcycle or driving a convertible.
The four-pack design forms a continuous banner with the grizzly bear image when placed side by side. The cider placed second in the Dieline Packaging Awards in 2015 and won gold in the Beverage category at the prestigious Pentawards in 2015.
Brooks Dry Cider distinguishes itself from other ciders with its light, crisp taste in contrast to an overly sweet flavor typical of most ciders, but still has a six percent alcohol content. His cider is made from pure apple juice without any concentrate or sweetener, he notes. It is a Californian adaptation of a traditionally British drink; fermented in Napa and made with fuji, granny and other apple varieties from the West Coast.
Selling the cider to the public began in spring of 2015 via local distributors in the San Francisco area. The cider is particularly popular there and in Santa Barbara, but distribution is growing throughout the state.
Bennett hopes that the cider will develop a following in Southern California as it has in San Francisco since the cider is now available at select grocery stores, including local ones on La Brea Ave., Fairfax Ave. and Vine St.
For more information, visit brooksdrycider.com.
By Brooke Stewart