Cidery To Reactivate Century-old Downtown Horse Stable

Written by: Mike Allmendinger

PHOTOS BY Paul Flessland and courtesy of Dan Francis Photography & Branick Industries

There’s a nondescript building in the heart of Downtown Fargo that you’ve likely never noticed before.

It has stood in this location for more than 100 years, and according to historic fire maps, it was constructed sometime between 1905 and 1910—its original purpose being as a stable house for horses used by the Haggart Construction Co. to haul materials from their material yard to construction sites.

Downtown Fargo horse stable

This 100-plus-year-old former horse stable (right) in Downtown Fargo will soon house Wild Terra, North Dakota’s first cidery.

We believe it could be the only remaining original stable in Downtown Fargo. (Let us know if you are aware of another.)

In 1950, the current masonry building, now home to Prairie Roots Food Cooperative, was constructed by the Branick Manufacturing Company. The building was used to manufacture tire inspection and retreading equipment and served as a filling station until the late 1960s. In 1972, Mathison’s Printing purchased the building and used it as a retail space for drafting and blueprint supplies. They also used it for the purpose of largeformat printing until December 2015 when the buildings were acquired by Kilbourne Group.

Downtown Fargo horse stable

The stable is two stories high, with roughly 2,000 square feet per floor. Mathison’s used the building for cold storage, as it lacks weather-tight windows; insulation; and modern systems such as plumbing, HVAC and electrical. Last year, we removed the transite siding and uncovered an impressive gable roof, which creates a unique, open space.

Due to today’s lack of demand for horse shelters and cold storage in Downtown Fargo, this building is a prime candidate for adaptive reuse. Bringing the building to life will require a new roof, windows, insulation, flooring, stairs, electrical, mechanical, the addition of a sprinkler system and bathrooms, and more. We are grateful to the City of Fargo and the State of North Dakota for their partnership on the project through the state’s Renaissance Zone program.

Downtown Fargo horse stable

The result will be the transformation of an old, unnoticed, unused, and unique space in Downtown into a brand-new experience for residents and visitors alike.

Wild Terra Cider & Brewing—set to open in the stable in the fall of 2017—brews hard cider and kombucha. As self-described “kids crazy about craft beverages,” cofounders and couple Ethan and Breezee Hennings have a passion for adventures that satisfy their curiosity about the Earth and expand their palates.

Wild Terra

Wild Terra Cofounder Breezee Hennings (right) explains what people can expect in terms of the Wild Terra aesthetic: “Our taproom will have a typical brewery feel on the first floor,” she says. “The second floor will have more of a lounge feel—with velvet and leather seating. We will also have a projection screen for ’80s movie nights and an 18- foot shuffleboard.”

As avid patrons of our local watering holes, they saw something missing from our community: hard cider and kombucha. This revelation, coupled with the fact that they have been homebrewing for years, made starting Wild Terra a perfect fit for the unique space.

The kombucha will be brewed with all organic ingredients and will have rotating infusions available on tap, as well as mocktails in the taproom. Wild Terra will bottle and distribute to cafes, restaurants and health studios around the area.

Downtown Fargo horse stable

Wild Terra, slated to open in fall 2017, will sit adjacent to the new Prairie Roots Food Co-op in Downtown Fargo.

Breezee describes their products as both traditional and new-world-style ciders that are more dry and have less sugar than massproduced ciders. She says cider bridges the gap between beer and wine—as it’s lower in alcohol and carbonated like a beer yet dry and fruit-based like wine. Wild Terra will also offer cyser, which is a blend of honey and cider with a higher alcohol content that is closer to a wine.

Farmers used to make hard cider in their barns, and patrons would go into the barn and drink. How cool that this urban cider house will have a setting reminiscent of a traditional, farm-based cidery.

Wild Terra Cider & Brewing

6 12th St. N, Fargo

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Mike Allmendinger is the General Manager of the Kilbourne Group.