How Original Stump Blower made Cider Cool Again
Conesuslake.com loves to feature local businesses that shine. This week OSB Cider Works is that business.
(Photo by Mark Chamberlin)
It all began with the legend handed down from their father and his late uncle of how they used to hide the cider in stumps from their spouses. The term "let's go blow up some stumps" referred to them heading to the back yard to do some "swilling." The cider back then was so strong, it was said that it could blow up a stump!
Located at 5901 Big Tree Road in Lakeville, NY, at the north end of Conesus Lake, Original Stump Blower Cider, known as OSB was founded by brother and sister Eric Smith and Elise Barnard. While Eric has never left the area, his sister Elise had been living in California, when her brother Eric "tricked" her into coming home and helping to run the new family business. Elise helps with the design and logo and advertising end of the business. Eric makes the cider and runs the day to day operations of the business. Eric worked as a chef for years and went to the Culinary School in NY. While there, he met several friends that were making beer or were interested in the idea. Eric, with one friend in particular, Mark "Professor" Havens, used to sneak into his parents pizzeria at night and "cook" beer until 3-4 am. With Mark's background in Chemistry and their friendship, he became a great choice to add him as OSB's only other employee.
When I asked Eric, why cider, when most people are starting breweries in the Finger Lakes, he said I had just answered that question. "Breweries are everywhere. Cider was just starting out and there weren't many in the Finger Lakes area 4 years ago when I started." It just made sense.
Eric chose Lakeville, because he lived right here on Conesus Lake. He also liked the convenient proximity to Rochester and Buffalo and the Conesus Lake crowd was also a factor. OSB offers entertainment most summer weekends. That with it's tasting room and offerings of new flavors draws a great crowd from miles away.
I asked Eric how he came up with the different flavors of cider "My culinary background helps a lot, but most importantly its the collaboration between local farmers and our business." Eric stated that "Sometimes, I have farmers call me and say they have a truckload of beets, and ask what I can do with it." He refers to it as "farm to glass" and loves the challenge. Keeping things local is important to Eric and the business. "Local collaboration is the key." According to their website, the tasting room and gift shop features art by local talented people and goods printed by local companies.
It was obvious to me while speaking with Eric, that he was passionate about his business and about cider. He told me he loves building something for himself, something he was proud of and something he could pass on too his family. One of the things he is most proud of is his ability to give back to the community. OSB has several charity events coming up in the near future, including a signature cider called "Chocolate Cacao" where all proceeds will go to The Guild for Cancer Awareness. On March 10th, a "Harry Potter Butter Bear Cider" will help to benefit an event at the Metropolitan Art Gallery. The Cider will also be available at OSB's tasting room for a limited time.
You can find OSB cider works, while dining out as well. Their ciders are at many local restaurants in Lakeville and Livonia, such as Tee & Gee, Ember Woodfire Grill, Lantern Lounge, and Hook and Spoon. In, Geneseo you can find it at Kelly's Saloon, Bar-Eat-O and Rancho Viejo just to name a few. OSB also is draughted at many restaurants and bars in Rochester, NY as well.