From production to distribution, sales to public relations, Dana Bushouse of Crooked City Cider does it all. This small-batch cidery is strictly a one-woman show. Based in uptown Oakland, California, Bushouse and Crooked City Cider strive to be the Bay Area’s established cider brand.
“People in Oakland have a lot of loyalty to local and honest products,” Bushouse says. She says the underlying collaborative effort between her business and other Oakland producers supports this sentiment.
Crooked City shares their tasting room and production facility with two other local alcohol producers. Two Mile Wines and the Oakland Spirits Company operate out of the same space as Crooked City, and all three businesses always look to help each other out, she says.
Bushouse plans to reserve some cider from the latest batch to collaborate on a brandy with the folks at the Oakland Spirits Company.
Being a small-batch operation every time a batch of cider is made the flavor is a little bit different. Never using the same juices, Bushouse makes sure her cider sippers are getting a new and fresh product. But, she says this can also be one of the challenges of being so small.
For example, the last batch of cider she produced consisted of a juice with a blend of four different kinds of apples. This was a much smaller sample size in comparison to the cider created before this batch, which consisted of nine different kinds of apples.
She says the batch with nine apples is currently her favorite, but with each batch being so unique she is sure to come across another cider that will take the top spot. Crooked City on average produces around 550 gallons of cider at a time, with their biggest amount of production weighing in at 725 gallons.
Distribution for the two-year-old cidery is starting to ramp up. As of now, Bushouse solely distributes in kegs to over 10 bars and restaurants within the Oakland area. But this will soon change. Bushouse is on the verge of purchasing larger equipment, which will increase production and she plans to start either bottling or canning her cider before the end of 2016.
“I just wanted to create a cider I actually enjoyed and could drink a lot of. It didn’t need to be too sweet, or too dry. And, I think I’ve done that,” Bushouse says. “I started Crooked City out of my basement and it is fantastic to see the direction we’re headed.”
Due to the shared tasting room space with Two Mile Wines and the Oakland Spirits Company, Crooked City Cider’s hours are quite unique. Bushouse pours her cider Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m. to 5 pm, and every Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.