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Former St. Louis Fire Department Engine House Now Quenches Burning Hard Cider Thirst with Help of EDA RLF Loan

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The transformed Fire Engine House now the Brick River Cider

EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program provides small businesses and entrepreneurs with the gap financing they need to start or expand their businesses.

In St. Louis, Missouri, just west of Downtown, a fire department engine house was built in 1892, Engine House No. 32, serviced the community for 37 years. Today, Engine House No. 32 has been converted to accommodate Brick River Cider, the first hard ciderworks located in the City of St. Louis.

Located a few blocks north of Union Station at the corner of 20th and Washington Ave., the ciderworks houses production on the first floor along with a small bar. The former fireman’s dormitory on the second floor has been converted to a 100-seat restaurant with full commercial kitchen.

Brick River Cider Co. crafts their hard cider fresh from pressed Midwestern fruit, following their mission to work with regional fruit growers to craft authentic hard cider using only fresh-pressed fruit juices. Their fruit and vegetable-forward menu features favorites influenced by the cider producing regions of England and France.

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Fire Engine House No. 32 circa 2015

In June 2017, The St. Louis Local Development Corporation provided a $150,000 loan to City Cider LLC, d/b/a Brick River Cider, through its EDA Revolving Loan Fund that allowed the business to purchase the equipment needed to establish the ciderworks.

“The EDA’s Revolving Loan Fund is a great tool to help spur economic development and create jobs in the St. Louis region,” said Rodney Crim, Interim CEO & President, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

"Access to capital is always a key ingredient in any growth company,” said Russ John, the Brick River Cider Co. owner.” LDC was great to work with. Their communication process was always clear and to the point, which any busy entrepreneur appreciates. I'd encourage anyone looking to build a business in St. Louis to check them out."

The business opened in the renovated, historic Fire Department Engine House No. 32 building in February 2018. A popular local destination, Brick River Cider today employs five full-time workers and 10 part-timers. Due to their success, they plan to continue to hire.

To learn more about EDA’s RLF program and to see how others are using these loans to grow their businesses, visit EDA’s website https://www.eda.gov/rlf/.

Tags: Small Business Development/RLF

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