Kyle Sherrer and Sae Kenney are the owners of Newburgh’s newest business, Graft Cider. The couple, along with their dog, Lowrider, moved in June 3rd. Although they are just getting started, they have big goals for the cider industry and will be making a mark on the City of Newburgh.
Both Sherrer and Kenney are Newburgh transplants from the DC/Baltimore area. They originally sought to open their business in NYC, but exorbitant prices sent them searching the Hudson Valley. Like many, their search started out in Beacon. Unable to find the industrial space needed to run a cidery, they crossed the river and came over to Newburgh. The city’s rough edges were undeniable, but coming from legacy cities themselves, Newburgh felt just like home.
Once the couple set their hearts on Newburgh, finding a space was another ordeal. They quickly found out that often times industrial spaces in Newburgh are not listed. They were referred to Alexandra Church from the Newburgh Department of City Planning who gave them two contacts. After going back and forth for a few months, Graft Cider found its home on Ann Street next to a Mexican market. A handshake agreement with building owner, Victor Cappelletti sealed the deal. Although the building is newer, it’s far beyond anything they would have ever been able to find in NYC or Baltimore. Perks of their space are the large windows that let in light, high ceilings, wide doors, brick walls and a nice office space.
Sherrer had training as one of the founding members of the high-end cidery, Millstone Cellars. Graft Cider gives Sherrar a chance to explore his own unique cider offerings based on wild yeast fermentation that he cultivates himself instead of buying cultured strains. The name Graft comes from the idea of “grafting on to the American conscious of what cider is and creating a new concept and vision”. He is trying to introduce another tier of cider to the American market, that in his opinion lacks options. Stylistically the branding comes from the fairy tale world of Graft that the duo created based on influences from the 1920’s and fantasy. The results are distinctive, well-thought-out labeling that is sure to make Graft stand out on its own on any shelf or bar.
Currently they distribute to New York, Maryland and DC, but if you are looking to try Graft Cider locally, you can find it on draft at Ms. Fairfax and the Newburgh Brewery. Exciting as the cidery is, come spring you will be able to visit their 3 season outdoor cider garden or make an appointment at their future planned indoor tasting room. Obviously Newburgh has a brewery already, but Graft will be offering the very first outdoor tasting room in the city. They also just received a can labeling machine and can production will begin in February.
This side lot will paved over and serve as a 3 season cider garden that will likely be open Friday to Sunday. Kenney will change the design and set up of the garden with the release of each new cider to reflect label artwork. They want to install a fence and a canvas covering with other enchanting details that will transform the space. The cidery is open to having local food trucks partner with them that have permits.
Graft Cider is still very much in the growing phase, but it is encouraging to see young entrepreneurs choose Newburgh to develop their business. Those taking a chance on Newburgh are an inspiration to us all.