Marketing Director, Co-owner
For Immediate Release:
Lexington, KY -- After much anticipation, owners Tim and Greta Wright are ready to open the doors of their new business, Wise Bird Cider Co., on June 7, 2019. Wise Bird Cider Co. is located at 1170 Manchester Street, Suite 140, Lexington, Ky. 40508. The long-time dream for the couple is becoming a reality with the 4,000 square foot space located within the popular Pepper Distillery District. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 4:00 p.m. on June 6 with Mary Quinn Ramer, president of VisitLEX and Robert L. Quick, president & CEO of Commerce Lexington Inc.
“We’ve been coming to Lexington for years to visit family, and we’ve always felt it was a warm, inviting community that would be good for a start-up craft beverage business like ours, as well as a wonderful place to raise our kids,” says Greta Wright. In spring 2018, the owners pulled up stakes from Washington, D.C., moved to Lexington and immediately began working to open their cidery to the public. After a few bumps in the road - licensing delays due to the government shutdown earlier this year - “We are finally ready for folks to come in and try out our traditional style of craft cider,” says Tim Wright.
While their Kentucky business is new, Tim has been making cider since he fell in love with Greta while exploring the cideries of Virginia. He turned his family’s kitchen into a makeshift cidery and lab, and early efforts paid off: Tim won awards for his amateur ciders at GLINTCAP, and with advice from prominent craft cider makers - and major nudges from Greta to get out of the kitchen - the dream was born.
Once in Lexington, Greta and Tim immediately landed in the Distillery District. “We’re so excited about being in the old Rickhouse building. We love its cool history of storing and aging bourbon from the original James Pepper era, and we’re stoked to be carrying on that tradition with our own craft beverage.” The 4,000 square foot space includes a large production facility that can be viewed from the taproom and an expansive bar and taproom area, featuring beer garden tables and cozy lounge areas in the corners. There is enough space left over for a small kitchen as well. The Wrights worked with local architects (Clive Pohl and Jill Farfan of Pohl Rosa Pohl) and artisans on the space: from the design itself to the steel hardware (Nate Hensley Custom Studio) used to install wood shelving sourced from an old Jim Beam plant (Old World Timber). The patio will have partially shaded areas, games available for those inclined (ping pong and cornhole, to name a few), and seating to enjoy the greenery and water beside the building. Town Branch Creek flows beside the cidery and is part of the future site of the city’s planned Town Branch Trail. A small orchard will be planted there as well in late fall.
Wise Bird Cider Co. has hired two full-time staff members and will hire an additional three full-time taproom staff members and at least two part-time staff to help with cider making operations. Tim and Greta think of their employees “as an extension of family and want to have them with us for a long time!” Full-time, salaried employees have access to a benefits package and pay that sets Wise Bird Cider Co. up as a premier employer in the craft beverage industry. “We want Wise Bird Cider to be a place where people look forward to coming to work and hope to create a culture of learning and curiosity. We are hiring people who have a passion for cider and want them to share that passion with our guests. So really, they are not simply bartenders, they are brand ambassadors hired because they are great at what they do: making people feel welcome and spreading their love of cider and their knowledge of cider making.”
Upon opening, Wise Bird Cider Co. will offer three new products with five more in production. Wise Bird Cider is produced much like a wine, with close attention paid to the apple varietal and to blending those varietals together to achieve specific tastes. Cider is fermented and aged, then carbonated to produce a lively, thoroughly refreshing beverage. All Wise Bird Cider Co. ciders are made from heirloom and modern apples grown in Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and the ciders will range in residual sweetness from bone dry to semi-dry and semi-sweet. Wise Bird Cider Co. will produce a line of ciders called The Commonwealth Series made from 100% Kentucky grown apples. Customers can also enjoy single varietal ciders, which are made using only one apple type.
“We are so excited to bring this heritage style of cider to the Bluegrass region and even more excited about the reception and help we have received so far, from so many. The community has truly supported us in the hard work of bringing this business to life. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped make this dream come true, and who have helped us be able to say that the future looks bright for cider in the Bluegrass.”
Wise Bird Cider’s vision is to build community around one of the most traditional American beverages – cider – by having a gathering place to enjoy the camaraderie of friends, family, and neighbors while enjoying great drinks and food. Wise Bird Cider Co. is a warm, inviting, and modern location that is open to the entire community!
Wise Bird Cider Co. LLC is a subsidiary of Wise Bird Beverage Co. LLC and was founded in 2018 in Kentucky. The principal owners of the company are Tim Wright and Greta Pittard Wright. Funding for the company came mostly from financing obtained from local sources along with some investment from friends and family. The company currently has 6 full time employees and 2 part time. Wise Bird Cider Co. makes heritage style cider from real apples procured from the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky and surrounding Appalachian areas. Wise Bird Cider will produce over 6,000 gallons of cider its first year in business. Sales of cider will come mostly from its taproom located at 1170 Manchester St., Suite 140 in Lexington, KY with a small amount also from wholesale distribution of its bottled and kegged ciders.
Tim Wright Bio
Tim Wright is an award winning amateur cidermaker, winning Silver and Bronze medals at the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) 2018 competition. Tim’s pursuit of the art of cider keeps him up late into the night -- he has read just about every book, blog and article imaginable about cider. In addition to this, Tim conned his family into a “vacation” that had him enjoying a full load of cider-specific coursework at Cornell University in 2017. He is a certified cidermaker by the Cider Institute of North America in conjunction with Cider and Perry Academy and Cornell University.
Tim recently left his management consulting job with EY, where he focused on international economic development, fiduciary risk analysis and internal controls assessment to become a full-time entrepreneur. Tim’s work at EY gave him insight into complex risk management issues, financial and economic analysis and project management. He is an adept leader with keen analytical and tactical insights. Before this, Tim lived in Mexico for nearly a decade working with the Fulbright Scholarship program and other U.S. Department of State public diplomacy initiatives throughout Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. While in Mexico, he was an integral member of Los Ajusco Mountain Boys, Mexico’s best (i.e. only) touring bluegrass band. Tim is fluent in Spanish, holds a Master’s in International Economics from the University of California, San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy and can tell you where to find the best tacos in Lexington. Check out Tim’s LinkedIn profile here.
Greta Pittard Wright Bio
Greta Pittard Wright has been drinking hard cider since she was 15 years old (she was living in Brittany, France) and has been honing her tasting skills ever since!
Greta has over 18 years of experience in media, tech and hospitality startups. She is currently (since August 2018) Senior Vice President of Production for Wrigley Media Group, based in Lexington, Ky. She oversees teams producing everything from branded content and commercials to episodic television and movies.
Prior to joining Wrigley Media Group, Greta was Vice President of Content, leading the Content Acquisition and Contributor Engagement teams, at Storyblocks, an innovative stock media company. Greta played a pivotal role overseeing content strategy and operations across all three of Storyblocks’ sites (video, audio and photo) since early 2015. She was key to the successful launch of the Videoblocks by Storyblocks Marketplace and played a central role in ensuring the success of the company through the development of new products and services.
Prior to this, Greta was recruited by Summit Series to serve as Head of Company Operations, Hospitality and Membership at Summit’s recently acquired ski mountain and community in Eden, Utah, called Powder Mountain. Summit Series events are known worldwide for their innovative approach to hospitality and community.
Before this, Greta spent her time in the world of documentary television. She was among the first five employees of the Smithsonian Channel (a joint venture with Showtime), where she worked as Director of Production Management.
Greta graduated from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., with a double major in Philosophy and the History of Mathematics and Science, and a double minor in Comparative Literature and Classical Studies. She speaks French well enough not to get lost but is usually mistaken for being a German tourist. She is also a super-taster. Check out Greta’s LinkedIn profile here.
Photos supplied upon request by contacting Greta Pittard Wright.