Sisters and real estate agents Randi Brown and Caron Anderson love working together. So much so that they decided to take their passion for making cider to the next level, so they opened Sisters’ Cider House on Hildebrand Road on Bainbridge Island.
“Real estate is our day job and our evening job is this,” Brown said as she waved her hand around the new tasting room decorated with reclaimed woods, a Nintendo gaming station and Skee ball machines. “Any free time that we have seems to be pouring right into this, but it’s actually fun. It’s like going home every night after a party.”
Focusing on providing a family-friendly environment, Sisters’ offers 12 ciders on tap and soft drinks and snacks in a light-filled space with plenty of room for playing board games.
The sisters started making cider about 14 years ago when Anderson purchased a cider kit and asked her beer brewing father, Roger Anderson, to make some cider, which she enjoyed more than beer.
As the years passed, the sisters perfected their drinks, which became popular with friends and family who began requesting them for different events. “We didn’t know if they wanted it because we were bringing cider, or if it was legitimately good cider,” Anderson said. People started requesting it for events and weddings.
It was then that they toyed with the idea of becoming professional cider makers, but they had full-time jobs.
Then COVID hit.
While the world was shut down, they decided to become professional cider makers, and they brought several family members into the business, including their parents, Randi’s husband, Alex Brown, and Caron’s fiance’.
Anderson said, “If we’re going to do this, we should do this now.” And against all odds, they set out to build the business of their dreams.
Sisters’ Cider House is focused on being a community destination rather than a tourist tasting room. It’s a gathering space where people can bring kids and friends to play during family game nights or to meet new neighbors during fun-themed party nights.
Sisters’ offers 12 apple-based ciders on tap with flavors ranging from blood orange, huckleberry, mango, blackberry, peach and prickly pear, which can be sampled individually or in flights.
Brown said the flights are popular because people can try different flavors and make notes on, “tasting cheat sheets.”
A special feature for families who worry about allergies is that Sisters’ Cider House is a nut-free and BYOF destination.
In other words, “you can bring your own food,” said Brown, which is in honor of her son, Remington, who has a severe allergy to peanuts. “I’ve got an allergy notebook if somebody has any questions. We take it very seriously because it’s a very big deal for our family,” said Brown, who is happy to allow guests to bring in their own meals or order from other establishments.
Brown and Anderson said it was a lot of work to open the business, and they praised fellow business owners who helped them avoid pitfalls along the way. “They’ve all been very welcoming to embrace a new cider house,” Brown said.
The cider house has six giant stainless steel tanks for making cider and small kegs for seasonal flavors. “We’re working on which ones will be the absolute favorites,” Brown said because they are limited to 12 taps.
The duo is preparing for Caron’s wedding Aug. 27, and the bride doesn’t know which cider she’s serving yet. But, she is finalizing a list of ciders for their first entry in the Seattle Cider Competition in September.
Since opening, Brown said the best part of her day is in the evening when she sees groups of people playing games. “They’re all having fun, and they’re engaged with one another.”
Her sister’s observation is a little different, “this is the only place where parents can school their kids on how to play Nintendo video games.”