Cary, NC — In the last few days, the Bull City Ciderworks location in Downtown Cary has really taken shape as a modern cider bar with a warm, historic feel.
It’s all coming together just in time for this weekend’s soft opening.
The Remade & Reimagined Williams House
The location, at 210 East Chatham Street in Downtown Cary, is part of a new development that has given new life to the historic Williams House.
In its entirety, the Williams House project features roughly 6,900 square feet of office and retail space, some of which is now home to the Bull City location on the street level of the 3-story development.
“Our landlords have done a great job developing in Cary, not just this building, but a lot of bringing that culture and social scene to downtown. We really like their vision for the project and for the township overall,” said Bull City Ciderworks CEO and co-founder, John Clowney.
Choosing to Expand in Cary
Just under 10 years ago, Clowney and a few friends were learning the right (and wrong) ways to home-brew ciders in the backyard. Cutting apples, hand pressing them and learning the keys to fermentation. That backyard project has grown into one of the top North Carolina producers of hard cider with four locations— Durham, Lexington, Greensboro and now Cary.
Cary first popped onto Bull City’s radar in 2019 and 2020, as they focused on expanding into Wake County.
“We really pivoted during the pandemic to do home deliveries, pick-ups and things like that,” said Clowney. “As part of our weekly deliveries, we noticed that we were getting a lot of activity from this part of Wake County so it made a lot of sense for us to investigate Cary a little more fully and see what we could find here.”
With a customer base in Cary, Clowney said other appeals to the Cary location were the transformations seen in the downtown area and the resulting positive momentum.
“We operate in different towns and cities across the state, so we always look to be collaborative with the businesses around us. For us, we’re really looking at the ways we can partner with and be part of the bigger community,” said Clowney. This mission, he said, is all about not being a passive tenant and getting involved in local nonprofits and the interests of the community.
While the first soft opening days begin this weekend, Clowney said a true grand opening celebration will be coming soon in March.
What to Expect: From Ciders to Cocktails
With an interior street-side lounge and spacious bar and outdoor seating options, this bright new spot is sure to welcome lots of Cary customers. But, what will be on the bar menu? That’s a question for Cary Manager Aiden Sisson, fondly known as the guy wearing the kilts.
Sisson has been working alongside a couple of mixologists in Raleigh and Durham to come up with a full cider cocktail menu that will complement their lineup of on-tap ciders.
During the soft open time frame, there will be an initial batch of about 4 cider cocktails, including a gin, rum, vodka and a whiskey or bourbon cocktail — all of which are made to highlight the different flavor profiles of the ciders.
A handful of flagship cocktails will be on the menu all year round, and one or two seasonals will also be on the menu as limited-release ciders come and go. Those planning to stop in during the soft opening period should not expect a complete menu of cocktails as those will become available at the grand opening.
“Execution is super important to us and we want our team to feel prepared for when we launch the full menu,” said Sisson. Right now, sights are set on bartender training and getting things off to a smooth start.
Once the team gets through the March grand opening, they will lean into more regular hours and be sure to have the full list of bar offerings available.
Story and photos by Ashley Kairis.
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