Apples and Outlaws: Etta Place Cidery
See the full article by Avrey Evans published by Salt Lake Magazine here.
The legend of Etta Place has inspired historians and Western enthusiasts everywhere, including a couple in Torrey who named their cidery after the outlaw queen herself. As the first and only modern booze manufacturer in Wayne County, Etta Cidery is keeping the spirit of Torrey’s bandit background alive and well.
Ann and Robert Torrence came to Southern Utah in 1993, and after discovering their new land came with irrigation rights, they wasted no time laying roots. “I never do anything in small numbers,” says Ann. “I started planting every apple varietal I could get my hands on, and everything worked.” Etta Place Cider’s orchards boast over 500 trees and 90 different apple varieties, almost all of which go towards their in-house hard cider production. With assistance from head cider maker Travis Nelson, the cidery now offers eight flavorful products, like Gingerbread Hard Cider and Rhubarb Peach Wine.
The Cidery sells most of its products directly to consumers via special ordering to 40 states, as well as local venues like Scion Cider and Lucky 13 Bar and Grill. And if you happen to find yourself in Capitol Reef, Ann and Robert offer tours and tastings year-round. The pair have also put in for a full-bar license, and are looking to expand a tap room once approved.
Apples aside, Ann remains fascinated with the lore of Etta Place, a woman who embodied both the rustic values of the Old West and a refined nature. “That tension between rustic and refined has informed a lot of decisions we’ve made with the cidery,” says Ann. “We consider her the OG outlaw in our area and we’re the OG cidery in Torrey.” As for the mystery of the outlaw queen, Anne likes to believe Etta made her way back to San Francisco in 1906 and lived out the rest of her days happy and healthy. “She made a clean getaway, she was the smart one after all.”