Meriwether Cider’s Molly Leadbetter belongs to a unique team of co-owners: her father, her mother and her sister. Then again, the tight-knit community of homegrown entrepreneurs in the greater Boise, Idaho, area is already a bit like a family.
Leadbetter explains that Meriwether’s commitment to its community, paired with the ongoing intention to remain passionate and adventurous while only producing ciders the family would be proud to drink, is exactly what has kept the label chugging along. “With these in mind, we’ve made it through our first year with smiles on our faces and cider in our bellies,” she says.
As the Leadbetter family prepares to celebrate Meriwether Cider’s first anniversary, Leadbetter reflects on the transition from her previous career as a wildland firefighter to her present-day role cranking out dreamy cider creations.
“I never in a million years thought I would be running the marketing and sales for my own business,” she says. “It’s a crazy world, I guess. I couldn’t be happier with the result though; working with my family has been great and the number of people I’ve met through this company is absolutely incredible.”
It always circles back to the people. The Leadbetters are proof that turning Northwest-grown apples into handcrafted bottles full of dry, semi-sweet, hopped, botanical and fruity ciders is truly a labor of love. “I call Boise a ‘cheater city’ when it comes to opening a business because everyone here is so kind and supportive of anything that has roots here,” Leadbetter says. “When I look back on this last year, all I can really think is it’s been an incredible experience all around.”
Read on for more on what’s in Leadbetter’s glass, on her playlist and what she hopes to accomplish in the years ahead at Meriwether.
1) Which of your own current offerings are you digging the most?
Oh man, I get that question in the taproom all the time, and my answer is always so long and complicated people’s eyes start to glaze over! So, I’ll try and keep it short and sweet. Right now I am super stoked on a cider we’re releasing for Valentine’s Day that we’re calling Strawberries and Cream. It’s a strawberry cider that we added a little lactose to for creaminess and then stuck on nitro — our first exploration into nitro ciders! It’s got a beautiful creamy head and a sweet strawberry palate.
2) Any cidermaking pipe dreams you’re dying to make a reality?
Idaho has tons of dessert apples, but no cider apples. Dessert apples are apples you eat; think Fuji, Granny Smith and Red Delicious. Cider apples are more tart, tannic and generally not good to eat, but they add a ton of complexity to ciders. I would love in the future to work with local orchardists to plant and utilize actual cider apples in Idaho.
3) What non-cider beverage is in your glass most these days? What is your favorite way to enjoy it and where?
That’s such a hard question — I love beer! And Boise has had exponential growth in the brewing industry in the last couple years, making the options almost endless. But if I really sit down and think, I’ve really been enjoying walking down 50 feet to our neighbor Barbarian Brewing’s taproom to enjoy a Persephone porter. It’s a lower alcohol porter that just goes down so smoothly, maybe too smoothly.
4) Favorite song, album or artist to jam out to while throwing a few down the hatch?
Right now I am listening to the Spotify playlist for Treefort Music Fest 2017. Treefort is an amazing music festival held in Boise every year in March. This year they have more than 400 bands playing over five days in downtown. Listening to all the bands they’ve booked is getting me so pumped for the actual event, my favorite week of the year!