New cider house in downtown Bellingham aims to be relaxing, social hangout

Cider house opening soon in Bellingham

A new cider house will open in August 2019 at the former Michael's Books space at 109 Grand Ave. in downtown Bellingham, Wash.
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A new cider house will open in August 2019 at the former Michael's Books space at 109 Grand Ave. in downtown Bellingham, Wash.

A desire to leave the corporate world behind for a smaller community has led to a new downtown Bellingham business.

Thousand Acre Cider House is expected to open in the coming days at 109 Grand Ave., in the former Michael’s Books space near Black Drop Coffeehouse.

The taproom was started by Jenny and James Hagemann. Jenny Hagemann said in an interview that she fell in love with cider a few years ago while attending the Seattle Cider Summit. At the time she worked for Amazon, helping create its Amazon Launchpad program that highlights innovative products and business startups.

The couple wanted to move to Bellingham and after observing some friends successfully launch a cider house elsewhere, Jenny Hagemann began researching whether it would work here. Through her research, she found this area to be a place where people like to try out new drinks.

“Our main mission is giving people a chance to engage their curiosity of cider,” she said.

Equally important with the business was moving to a smaller community.

“We both were seeking to build a life in Bellingham as a way to gain balance and return to a smaller community that we hope to have a greater impact in than was possible in Seattle,” Jenny Hagemann said.

The cider house will have 24 taps, mostly for ciders but there will also be some local beer choices. The ciders will feature the local products, but also have some “Old World” choices from places like the United Kingdom and France. She describes the more traditional ciders as drier, closer to a wine than the more modern ciders and wants both represented at the business.

The fire table is one feature of the Thousand Acre Cider House, which is planning to open soon at 109 Grand Ave., in the former Michael’s Books building. Thousand Acre Cider House Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

The Thousand Acre name is a tip of the hat to Johnny Appleseed, who apparently planted cider apple trees on 1,000 acres.

The cider house seats 85 but won’t be a full-service restaurant. It will have light fare, including cheese and other snack items. Jenny Hagemann said they are working with downtown restaurants for food delivery. Customers can also bring in restaurant food from other places. But it will have a retail bottle shop section for those who want to take home ciders and other products.

The goal of the cider house is to be a place to hang out and socialize, she said. While there will be some traditional bar games, there won’t be televisions.

Thousand Acre is the first tenant in the building that was restored by Daylight Properties. It is expected to have three apartment units and other retail tenants when finished.

Once open, hours for the cider house will be noon to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, open until midnight Thursday through Saturday.

For details on Thousand Acre’s opening, visit the company’s Facebook or Instagram pages.

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Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.