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The bright cider life

Residents of the 209 who may not have time for an apple picking trip this fall can still enjoy the classic fruit with a trip to Salida, where they can find its fermented counterpart in a glass at Tapped Apple.

Modesto residents Corey Martin and Wells Mounday own and operate the small tasting room that attracts patrons from all over the Central Valley, but the pair didn’t set out with intentions to start their own hard cider business. As the two friends tasted different samples of  the beverage during a barbecue one night, a new venture was born. 

“Wells had invited me over, and we were sampling a bunch of different styles and manufacturers of ciders. By the time we got done with that, we were really overthinking,” Martin laughed. “(Wells) said, ‘We should totally just make some.’”

The pair met thanks to Little League, where Martin coached Mounday’s daughter. The two had never before attempted to brew or ferment any type of alcohol, but before they knew it, they had completed their first batch of hard cider from the comforts of the garage. Quickly, they realized it would be a learning process. 

“The first couple of batches were really, really bad,” Martin said. “We choked it down just because we had to.”

But they kept trying. Internet research helped some, but ultimately Martin and Mounday tried their own techniques, they said, and found success. 

“There was a lot of trial and error. Probably after about four or five batches, it got to the point where our wives were actually liking it,” Mounday said. “That’s when we knew it was good, because they could be pretty tough on us.”

After earning the approval from not only their wives, but other friends and family members, the cider went live as Martin and Mounday entered the wholesale world, providing their product to bars and restaurants locally. As Tapped Apple created a name for itself at businesses and through appearances at local festivals, customers had just one question: Where can I buy this?

In 2016, Martin and Mounday opened the Tapped Apple tasting room in Salida, six years after crafting their first batch of cider in the garage. Not only did they then begin fermenting their cider on location thanks to giant, temperature-controlled tanks, but community members could now walk in, try a cider or two and get a jug filled with their favorite flavor. 

Eventually, the pair went from offering only jugs to now serving flights and pints of whatever’s on tap that day. Tapped Apple rotates through about 30 different flavors, from their best-selling Concert in the Park to unique concoctions like BluePom — a blueberry/pomegranate hybrid — and Lemon Chill-O, which tastes just like lemonade. 

“It’s different than going to a winery. You walk in and have this brewery feel,” Martin said. “It’s more like a backyard barbeque — people are coming in, hanging out and relaxing; they don’t feel any pressure in any way.”

Tapped Apple’s brick and mortar location went from just one or two people visiting at a time to now seeing a completely packed house on the weekends and over half of the cidery’s visitors are repeat customers. It’s something Martin and Mounday didn’t expect, but are thankful for. 

“I didn’t necessarily want to do the tasting room aspect of it, but I didn’t expect to have so much fun. We’ve met so many awesome people,” Mounday said. 

“I have my family and friends and then I have Tapped Apple family and friends,” Martin said. “It’s really cool, actually, because the community has given us so much support and they just encourage us to keep going.”

Tapped Apple is located at 5648 Pirrone Rd. in Salida. They’re open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.