In a refreshing wave of innovation and representation, Hannah Ferguson, a former assistant brewer and home winemaker, is on the cusp of opening Ohio's first black, female-owned cidery later this year. Aptly named DOPE Cider House & Winery, this exciting venture leases space from Penguin City Beer in Youngstown, OH.
Ferguson's passion for wine and cider started over a decade ago. Despite her brewing background, her heart always leaned towards wine and cider. After collaborating with Sundog Cellars Ciderhouse & Winery in 2020, the proceeds from the collaboration were directed towards launching her business - DOPEbrands LLC.
Why DOPE, you might ask? An acronym for Dwelling On Positive Energy, DOPE represents Ferguson's vision of bringing positivity and creativity to Youngstown. DOPE Cider House & Winery aims to infuse the same enthusiasm into its ciders.
Ferguson's journey into cidermaking was driven by her discovery that it falls under the same license as winemaking in Ohio. She also found that cider is quicker to produce than wine and enjoys a burgeoning popularity. With her innovative and experimental approach, she aims to create a range of exciting ciders that will captivate a diverse audience.
The road to establishing DOPE Cider House & Winery has not been without its challenges. From locating the right space to sourcing capital, it's been a tough journey. But Ferguson's unwavering determination has seen her through. She found a partner in Penguin City Beer, which offered a 1,500-square-foot space attached to its warehouse for her production facilities and taproom.
DOPE Cider House & Winery plans to initially produce modern-style ciders, with the potential for a rotating selection and a line of flagship ciders. Ferguson also intends to can her ciders for a broader distribution, thanks to Penguin City Beer's canning line.
Throughout her journey, Ferguson credits her success to strong friendships, collaborations, and a refusal to give up despite setbacks. Her story embodies her brand's acronym, DOPE, and serves as an inspiration for others in the industry.
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