Eric Thorn discovered the delights of cider (read: fermented apple juice) in 2009 while studying abroad in Austria. Returning to the United States, he couldn’t find any good cider, so he started fermenting his own in his garage. Ultimately, his cousin, Jackson, and brother, Jared, also caught the cider bug and the trio convened in Phoenix to launch Crush Craft Cider Co. in 2017. This summer, the company – which rebranded as Six Byrd Cider Co. to avoid a trademark dispute – opened a tap room in Arcadia Lite’s Gaslight Square. They also sell 16-oz. cans of small-batch craft hard cider ($6) in retail outlets across the Valley. Core flavors include Prickly Pom, a sweet and sour cider made with local prickly pear and pomegranate; Pura Vida Pineapple, a refreshing mix of pineapple and agave; and Hazy Apple, a light cider crafted from unfiltered apple juice. The cider-makers are ramping up their canned offerings and aim to get as many different options on store shelves as soon as possible. Notable fall/winter ciders (in the taproom and in cans) include Cranberry Spice, Spiced Apple, Chai Not?, Gingerbread and Apple Pie à la Mode.
Six Byrd Cider Co.
Paleo Energy Bars
In 2021, Jennifer Meyers was living in Brooklyn and working for a vegan yogurt company. She loved her job, but the pandemic forced her to reevaluate her life. Yearning for sunshine and hiking trails, Meyers moved to Phoenix without knowing a soul. For years, she had dreamed of starting a healthy energy bar business, so after arriving in the Valley of the Sun, she experimented with making gluten-free, vegan and Paleo energy bars with no refined sugar, dairy or soy. After mastering production and packaging, she started selling bars at local farmers markets (five for $20; 12 for $40 in person; 12 for $45 online). The bars were a hit, and now Meyers stocks more than 35 boutique stores around the state, including Gastromé Market and Comoncy, as well as 11 farmers markets. Her bars have a base of cashews, dates and coconut, and come in four flavors: Classic Crunch, Cinna Raisin, Choco Cherry and, the most popular, Banana Bread. “I love playing with different flavor profiles,” she says. “And I’m converting Oreo eaters.”
When James Weisinger grew up on Kelton Lane in Phoenix, his mom made what the family called “holiday” mustard for Thanksgiving and Christmas. “The whole house smelled like vinegar for two months,” he recalls. A few years ago, Weisinger’s mom taught him how to make the tangy condiment that he now sells as Momma’s Mustard ($9), a smooth blend of mustard flour (finely ground mustard seed with a texture similar to wheat flour) and apple cider vinegar with a touch of garlic and onion. He also whips up Rollin’ Stone Ground ($9), a heady mix of apple cider vinegar, yellow and brown mustard seeds and a hint of root beer and brown sugar; and Sweet Heat ($9), a coarse ground mustard laced with honey and cayenne pepper. Weisinger currently makes small batches of mustard, but will soon up production in a commercial kitchen to meet demand. “There’s no gray area when it comes to mustard,” Weisinger says. “People freaking love it, or they can’t stand it.” Find Kelton Lane Kitchen mustards at Arcadia Premium and The Wine Collective of Scottsdale.
Kelton Lane Kitchen