South City Ciderworks is spilling into some sweet new digs.

The craft cidery specializing in juicy, boozy beverages is merging with 47 Hills Brewing Company in South San Francisco, where the two independent businesses will share space at 137 Linden Ave.

The relationship is symbiotic — South City Ciderworks will gain the taproom it has long desired as well as extra production capacity, while 47 Hills will have access to the cider maker’s extensive distribution network for sales at local markets and retailers.

Jenn Martell, co-founder of the cidery with her husband Alex and business partner Greg Ruth, praised the deal as the culmination of an elusive vision that has long been just out of reach.

“This is going to be a sort of dream come true,” Martell said.

South City Ciderworks has outgrown the small, industrial space in San Bruno where it has started production six years ago. Martell said the company has repeatedly attempted over the years to find taproom space, but to no avail.

But what the company lacked in square footage to host guests, it made up for in space consumed on the shelves of local markets where the ciders could be purchased.

That market space will soon be available to 47 Hills Brewing Company, which was founded in South San Francisco about five years ago by John Tucci, a disciple of the Gordon Biersch brewery institution in San Francisco.

Tucci’s beer company has long endeavored to diversify its portfolio beyond solely serving beers at the taproom, according to Martell who said a friendship initially formed between colleagues in the craft brewing industry evolved to both parties acknowledging an opportunity for mutual benefit.

And while the South City Ciderworks’ presence at BevMo, Total Wines, Lunardi’s and Mollie Stone’s has helped it stay afloat amid the pandemic, Martell admitted the last year has been challenging.

The company is down about 60% in revenue, Martell said, primarily from to the loss of business from bars, restaurants and other outlets that were shuttered due to COVID-19.

So with the lingering desire to have a taproom of their own, combined with the need to reposition in the wake of the health crisis, Martell said South City Ciderworks is excited over transformative opportunity.

“We’ve got to survive so this is one of those ways that we are trying to think outside the box,” she said.

The move is not solely driven by survival instinct though, admitted Martell, who noted the new space will allow South City Ciderworks to take on greater creative endeavors than are currently available.

Because the company traditionally has focused solely on canning its creation for distribution to retailers, Martell admitted that some innovative ambition is limited to the boundaries of what will sell in mass quantities.

But with a taproom finally in its sights, Martell said there is a greater opportunity for risk taking because limited quantities can be made for strictly serving at the new headquarters — a departure from a business model previously focused solely on appealing to casual cider consumers.

“We can actually experiment with small batches,” Martell said, whose company has built a reputation as a compromise between the overly-sweet, mass-produced ciders and the experimental concoctions made by enthusiasts.

Martell added the cidery will also be able to ramp up its production at the new facility and she expects South City Ciderworks will hit the ground running once all its equipment is finally housed under the 47 Hills Brewing Company roof.

Looking ahead, Martell anticipated that the transition could be completed by the end of the month. And with pending implementation of a plan formed last year just as the pandemic started to spread, Martell shared her excitement over the new beginning.

“It is going to be tremendous,” she said.

austin@smdailyjournal.com

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