A FAMILY BUSINESS
Horacio and Sara met in grad school in Minnesota. Horacio, a US Santa Cruz alum, is from Argentina, and Sara is from New York. About 10 years ago, Horacio began experimenting with cider in their Minneapolis basement. He was a wine drinker who was drawn to the lower alcohol content of cider. But after getting frustrated by how sweet most ciders are, he became obsessed with making a quality dry cider - a cider without the sugar, but a lot of flavor
Horacio took a very scientific approach – testing dozens and dozens of yeast and juice combinations. He spent a couple of years experimenting, making cider for family and friends until he got it just right. And that’s when they decided they wanted to turn it into a business.
As Horacio watched the snow level rise from his basement window, they dreamt of building their business in a warm climate in a city that values the craft of making quality food and drink. San Diego was a no-brainer.
BUILDING THE CIDERY
Guthrie is Sara’s mother’s maiden name and their son’s middle name. This is a family business and the family name reminds them of that every day. In 2016, the family moved to San Diego and started building Guthrie CiderWorks.
The first step was turning an empty space into the cidery it is today. The next step was taking Horacio’s home brew recipe and scaling it up. Testing. Cleaning. Testing again.
“Making cider is all about testing and cleaning.”
They started with just one variety - a slightly different version of what is now the Brut.
“If you can get that right, it’s a really good place to start. It’s hard because there are no other flavors to mask an error.”
Next step? Getting Guthrie Cider into stores and restaurants.
TAKING A CHANCE ON THE NEW KID IN TOWN
Sara and Horacio started walking into stores and restaurants with a bottle of cider to see if anyone was willing to take a chance on their family business. And much to their surprise, they were! Their first accounts -- Viewpoint in Del Mar, Bier Garden in Encinitas, and Barons Markets - are still with them today. Just a couple years later, Guthrie cider can be found in over 100 stores and restaurants throughout Southern California.
INTERVIEW WITH THE OWNERS
Q: What is the worst flavor you’ve ever created?
Strawberry Banana. We just haven’t gotten it right, but we’re still trying!
Q: What makes Guthrie ciders different?
Guthrie ciders are extremely low in sugar. For example, our Brut has just ½ gram of sugar per 12 ounces. It’s not unusual for other cider brands to have around 20 grams. We make our ciders more like wine.
Q: What is your favorite thing about Guthrie CiderWorks?
The people we’ve met and their enthusiasm for what we’re doing. Also, it’s pretty fun seeing something we made on the shelf in stores. To see something that started in the basement on the shelf at Jimbo’s, it’s like “How did this happen?” It’s given us a greater appreciation for what other people are doing to get what they’re passionate about on the shelf or in a restaurant.
Q: When you’re not at the cidery, what do you like to do as a family?
We love to go out and eat as a family. We’re all about food (and cider)! In fact, when we moved here from Minneapolis, we took two weeks to drive out. Instead of planning our trip around visiting national parks or ballparks, we planned it around the best places to eat. We did stop at national parks; our favorite was Zion -- the bonus was that it had an amazing restaurant right outside.