Fresh from the Orchard
Local brewer brings crisp cider to market.
WRITTEN BY ERIN MEYERING
PHOTOS BY ASA GILMORE
Think fresh, innovative, and delicious.
This mantra was rushing through Fran Toves’ mind when she conceptualized her company, Common Cider.
After selling a Salt Lake City-based ice cream company about four years ago, the self-proclaimed foodie and Reno resident was looking for another project to get her hands, and taste buds, on.
Her now 34-year-old son, Jeremy Shea, was an avid hobby home brewer at the time and had entered — and won — Backwash, a craft-brewing competition in Reno.
This created a friendly, but relatively serious, beer rivalry between Shea and Toves. The competition brewing between mother and son pushed them both to enter the Sierra Nevada Homebrew Competition.
Toves, although never having made a cider before, quickly learned the technical nuances of cider making and came in third place for People’s Choice with her Clementine Cardamom. She entered three ciders and all of them placed in the top 10. The unexpected success and interest in her cider helped spur Toves’ newfound love for producing and experimenting to evolve into a business.