Southern hospitality, a rich musical heritage, the birth place of the Civil Rights Movement and a town with over 50 streets titled “Peachtree” — Atlanta, Georgia, is known for many things, and now one of those is cider. Opening in 2015, Urban Tree Cidery is the ATL’s first cidermaker within city limits.
Creating a cidery is no easy task — especially in a metro area of 5.6 million people — and it took many hands, and family members, to make Urban Tree come to life.
“The idea for UrbanTree was conceived by my husband Timothy,” says Maria Resuta who is one of the owners of the young cidery. “Throughout the process we ended up bringing more family members in, my sister Jackie [Annise] came in and now pretty much runs the show.”
With the North Georgia Mountains producing a major apple crop, the cider-loving family looked to obtain an orchard there and began producing cider at home. All three members studied at the Cider and Perry Academy in Gloucestershire, England, under cider master Peter Mitchell, and short after they each received their North American Cider Makers Certification in Cider and Perry Appreciation.
Annise and Resuta come from an Italian family and the sisters grew up in their family’s restaurants, which they credit for piquing their interest in the beverage business. “We’ve just been foodies for a really long time,” Resuta says. When the idea of creating cider on a commercial level arose, it wasn’t a big leap for the couple and it only made sense to loop in Annise.
The trio works side-by-side on making the cider at Urban Tree. “Cidermaking is both a science and an art form,” Annise says, whose expertise is on the science side. After studying for and working as a chiropractor, her interest in subjects like microbiology and chemistry came in handy concocting new ciders. “It’s crazy the amount of microbiology that’s involved” in cidermaking, she adds.
Together, the team created Urban Tree’s five ciders, with two more on the way and a rotation of seasonal ciders. The first release, The Original is a dry, crisp and tart flavor, while the second offering, The Classic, is a sweeter rendition to satisfy the South’s affection for sweetness. “I always tease and say that we sold our souls to the devil when we made that because that is our ode to the American-style sweet cider,” Annise says. The cidery also produces an off-dry cider aged in Nicaraguan rum barrels, a hopped cider and the Vintage Gala, an aged Gala apple sip — all available in the tasting room, along with local spirits.
For this cidermaking family, Urban Tree is all about legacy, as the Resutas hope to pass the cidery down to their three kids in the future. “We wanted to create something that was new and interesting, something that everybody in our family could be involved with and something that we can hand down to our kids,” Maria Resuta says. But before the handing over of the reins, she has big goals for the cidery. “We work the hell out of everything we do, so we are going to work this until we’re the biggest cidery in the South.”
Working alongside family can be challenging at times — some families can’t stand to even be in the same room as each other — but the Urban Tree kin sticks together. “It is emotionally charged but at the end of the day there’s no one like your family who has your back,” Annise says about working with her older sister. “At the end of the day your goals and interests are in the same place and what is best for everybody and what’s best for the business ends up happening.”
In addition to family, Urban Tree also prides itself on being a majority female-owned company, consciously making an effort to hire women for the team. Although Urban Tree is new on the block, the cidery is making its mark — in 2016 the team took home the “Best in Class” award from the Georgia Trustee’s Wine Challenge. The family is well on its way to making a lasting legacy.