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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Gluten-free cider is brought to Gainesville's Fourth Avenue Food Park

Dry Wrought Cider hosts soft opening of tap room at staple Gainesville grub hub

Dry Wrought Cider hosts a soft opening at Fourth Avenue Food Park Oct. 20.
Dry Wrought Cider hosts a soft opening at Fourth Avenue Food Park Oct. 20.

In 2012, 42-year-old retired teacher Tiffany Stone was caught in a state of utter disarray when she was suddenly diagnosed with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease triggered by the consumption of gluten. Longtime beer connoisseurs, Stone and her husband, Ben, went gluten-free overnight. 

Disillusioned by the small market for dietary friendly alcohol, Ben Stone with his 34-year-old best friend and brother-in-law, Dale Tanner, began home-brewing to compensate for the lack of options Gainesville offered them at the time. 

Just short of a decade later, the Stones and Tanner would bring one of the biggest breweries for gluten-free and vegan cider to Gainesville: Dry Wrought Cider. What started as a simple hobby of brewing an occasional three liters of hard cider turned into an entrepreneurial venture, opening a warehouse at 1995 NE 31st Ave. by 2021.

Now, with growing popularity and a bigger budget, the Stones and Tanner have constructed and launched a tap room at Gainesville’s Fourth Avenue Food Park, home to several local food vendors such as Dick Mondell’s, Opus Coffee, Satch Squared and Fehrenbacher’s Artisan Sausages. 

On Oct. 20, Dry Wrought Cider opened its doors as part of its soft opening event in anticipation of its grand opening Nov. 10. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., passersby were welcome to sample and purchase some of the cidery’s staple beverages, as well as sample vegan snacks the facility hopes to sell. 

“We’re trying to establish a new niche here,” Ben, 38-year-old co-owner of Dry Wrought Cider, said. “It’s easy drinking, it tastes good.” 

As owners of Dry Wrought Cider, the Stones and Tanner said they commit to producing and providing unique forms of dry cider with flavors hard to find anywhere else. To stand out from other alcohol distributors in the area, Dry Wrought Cidery promotes its jalapeno, strawberry, hops, mulled and orange zest ciders. 

“As a diet-friendly product,” Ben said, “we already knew we have a small percentage of people who were purchasing alcohol.” 

With plans to pursue their business in early 2020, the Stones and Tanner were caught in the crossfire of the COVID-19 pandemic, challenged with the inability to obtain a business license until the very end of the year. But despite these challenges, Tiffany described them as a “blessing in disguise.” 

“It gave us so much time to establish our production protocols,” she said. “Without COVID, I don’t think I would have had a distribution company.” 

Tiffany now manages the distribution for Dry Wrought Cider, delivering her and her family’s products to small stores and markets throughout the state, including Orlando, Daytona Beach and Jacksonville. In Gainesville, the company’s ciders can be found in restaurants such as Boca Fiesta and Dragonfly Sushi and Sake Co., as well as grocery stores such as Ward’s Supermarket at Northwest 23rd Avenue. 

The success of Dry Wrought Cider since its opening has also been felt nationwide, having won the Florida Producer of the Year award at the New York International Cider Competition in February, a showcase of around 300 cideries from around the world, Tanner said. 

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“It’s awesome to have other people in the industry recognize that you’re making good product,” Tanner said, “because they’re the ones that know best.” 

With initial plans to open a tap room close to the Dry Wrought Cider factory, Ben said he collaborated with Tim Larson, co-owner of Opus Coffee, to open a tap room in a building he had ownership of.

“We were looking for a spot without too much build-out,” he said about Fourth Avenue Food Park. “Something a little bit more ready-made, realistic and less polished.” 

In constructing the facility, Ben aimed to appeal to the average person, uninterested in looking like a “martini bar.”

But above all, the Stones and Tanner, the latter who was also diagnosed with Celiac disease, said Dry Wrought Cider’s expansion is important for reaching a broader group of people who struggle with the same dietary restrictions they do. 

“As people who had to stop drinking beer and figure out a different lifestyle,” Ben said, “we want to give (people) a safe product that wasn’t made on shared equipment.” 

With no extra staff, the Stones and Tanner have built their taproom at Fourth Avenue Food Park from the ground up. With pastel color patterns bracing its walls, Dry Wrought Cider hopes to catch the eye of any who pass by, 

“We want to increase our visibility as a product,” Ben said. “We also want to increase our visibility in the food park so people will recognize us as they go there.” 

Upon officially opening at Fourth Avenue Food Park Nov. 10, he said Dry Wrought Cider’s days of operation include Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with hours subject to change. 

Contact Jared Teitel at jteitel@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @jaredteitel.


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Jared Teitel

Jared Teitel is a third-year journalism major, and this is his second semester as an Avenue reporter. In his free time, he enjoys running, shopping, and drinking coffee. 


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