Microbreweries are nothing new to the Mahoning Valley. Places like Modern Methods, Noble Creature, and Birdfish have been offering typical microbrewery aesthetics in the area for years; however, being a little different is always a good thing. While Sundog Ciderhouse embraces the traditional atmosphere offered by their local contemporaries, they prefer to stand out in the drinks they sell. From wines to their signature cider ales, everything that Sundog sells is brewed in-house, each with its own unique flavor. 

Sundog was founded in late 2017, as the opportunity to find space and create and sell craft wines arose. After focusing exclusively on wines, the team began to introduce hard ciders into their drink lineup, a move that co-owner, Ryan Stryffeler, says has paid off in recent years.

“There were some inquiries about, ‘Hey, have you guys ever thought about introducing more gluten free-type offerings like hard cider’,” said Stryffeler. “So they tried it out and made the first hard cider, our Nightrider. We still offer that original hard cider that we started with. We got a lot of positive results, comments, and also a lot of sales as a result of that product, and started drifting more and more that way.”

Venturing into the hard cider industry has paid dividends for the Sundog team. They’ve enjoyed their success by offering a product that is not as readily available in the Mahoning Valley, which helps them stand out amongst their peers. 

“It’s not like you can’t find hard ciders at many establishments,” said Stryffeler on what makes them unique. “But there’s not a lot of craft ciders, especially in this area. Even the ones that are sold as craft are still produced, typically, in New York or Washington and sold more at the macro level, like Sam Adams or Sierra Nevada.”

Part of what makes Sundog special, though, is their use of locally grown products, and relationships with area vendors. They enjoy a successful partnership with Hays Orchard in Columbiana, OH, and regularly work with their neighbors at Firestone Farms, like Homestead Kitchen and Cocktails. This is what Stryffeler enjoys the most about Sundog.

“I personally would say the business relationship, and local community relationship, with other other businesses, whether it’s out here at Firestone Farms, with Homestead Kitchen and Cocktails, the Brew Lounge, and some of the other restaurants that are going to be opening up here this summer,” said Stryffeler. “There’s just a lot of really cool people making a lot of really cool products here in Columbiana County. It’s nice to be part of that and show what we can do.”

Sundog Ciderhouse has found a niche in the Mahoning Valley by bridging the gap between tradition and innovation. While they prefer to embrace the traditional microbrewery atmosphere, they do so while selling a product that you can’t find anywhere else in the area. The folks at Sundog are strong pillars of the community as well, creating their ciders and wines with locally sourced ingredients, and forming strong relationships with other businesses in the area, all of which have been possible through their willingness to bend the rules of what a local brewery can offer. Next you’re in the mood for a drink that’s a bit more unique, check out Sundog Ciderhouse in Columbiana!