Life Along the Streetcar with Tom Heath from The Heath Team Nova Home Loans

We’re going to start today’s show with a spotlight. A bright spotlight on the downtown places and faces launched last week. The 01 Spotlight is a feature on social media from the downtown Tucson Partnership. Really quick interviews of the faces behind the places making downtown great. Not just highlighting the businesses that are important to downtown, but the people who have put their entrepreneurial efforts into making those businesses great.

Each and every Sunday our focus is on Social, Cultural and Economic impacts in Tucson’s Urban Core and we shed light on hidden gems everyone should know about. From A Mountain to the U of A and all stops in between. You get the inside track- right here on 99.1 FM, streaming on DowntownRadio.org– we’re also available on your iPhone or Android using our very own Downtown Radio app.

Reach us by email contact@lifealongthestreetcar.org — interact with us on Facebook @Life Along the Streetcar and follow us on Twitter @StreetcarLife

This Cider House Rules

Our feature for today’s show is the husband and wife team who launched Tucson’s first and only Cider Taproom, and they did so in the midst of a pandemic. Fourth Avenue is known for its one-of-a-kind Bohemian Vibe, so it’s no wonder that Don Rubino chose to open his non-orchard-based cidery in this unique part of Tucson. Not only is this Tucson’s first Cider Taproom, it’s the only one of its kind. There’s some others in the state and in the region, but in Tucson, we have nothing else.

Well, Don and his wife Jaimie Perkunas opened Bawker Bawker in the midst of the pandemic and they’ve become quite popular for those seeking an alcoholic drink made by fermenting the juice of an apple. So, how do they manage to open in a pandemic? How is their business been? How’s the reception been on Fourth Avenue? What on Earth does Bawker Bawker even mean? We sat down with Don and Jamie to answer all of these questions and more.

Transcript

Tom Heath
Good morning. It’s a beautiful Sunday in the Old Pueblo. You’re listening to KT-DT Tucson. Wanna thank you for spending part of your brunch hour with us on your downtown Tucson Community sponsored rock and roll radio station.

Tom Heath
This week, we speak with the owners of Tucson’s only Cider Taphouse, Bawker Bawker. We’re going to hear the story of how this unique concept came to be in the midst of a pandemic. Today is January 17th. My name is Tom Heath and you’re listening to Life Along The Streetcar!

Tom Heath
Each and every Sunday, our focus is on social cultural and economic impacts in Tucson’s Urban core and we shed light on hidden gems everyone should know about. From A mountain to UArizona and all stops in between, you get the inside track right here on 99.1 FM streaming on DowntownRadio.org and also available on your iPhone or Android using our very own Downtown Radio app, just simply head to your store and bring in your Downtown Radio Tucson app and you’ll have us wherever you go.

Tom Heath
If you want to contact us on the show, our email address is Contact@LifeAlongTheStreetcar.org. We’re on Facebook. We’re on Twitter and all of our past episodes are housed on Life Along the Streetcar.org and Now podcast available on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud or simply by asking your smart speaker to play our podcast.

Tom Heath
Now we’re going to start Today Show with a spotlight. A bright spotlight On the downtown places and faces launched last week. The 01 Spotlight is a feature on social media from the downtown Tucson Partnership. Really quick interviews of the faces behind the places making downtown great. Not just highlighting the businesses that are important to downtown, but the people who have put their entrepreneurial efforts into making those businesses great.

Tom Heath
So it’s the faces behind the places. And I know a little something about it because I happen to be one of the interviewers. So we get to head to different businesses, one a week, and talk to the owners. My partner in this is Zack Yenzer, you may know him, he hosts a radio show on KVLI The Voice. And the partnership between Zack and myself is a collaboration for the Downtown Tucson Partnership.

Tom Heath
And our goal is to just find out what is happening within the business community. What are people experiencing? How can we help them? And what are our some of those unique opportunities that people may not know about. Again, it’s the 01 Spotlight. It’s the faces behind the places and I think the Into the business owners, why they chose to be downtown, what they’ve experienced in the last 12 months, what they see in the next 12 months. It’s a very enlightening and telling story. So every Thursday if you head over to the downtown Tucson Partnerships social media, Instagram, Facebook believe on their website as well. You’ll get one of those videos. We did 1055 couple weeks ago, Laura Tanzer last week and we got some cool ones coming up. You’ll also see a correlation with this show because some of those interviews lead to more in-depth conversations that we’re going to house right here on Life along the streetcar so check them out. I think they’re fun and I’m kind of excited to meet all the cool people doing stuff.

Tom Heath
Our feature for today’s show is the husband and wife team who launched Tucson’s first and only Cider Taproom, and they did so in the midst of a pandemic. Fourth Avenue is known for its one-of-a-kind Bohemian Vibe, so it’s no wonder that Don Rubino chose to open his non-orchard-based cidery in this unique part of Tucson. Not only is this Tucson’s first Cider Taproom, it’s the only one of its kind. There’s some others in the state and in the region, but in Tucson, we have nothing else.

Tom Heath
Well, Don and his wife Jaimie Perkunas opened Bawker Bawker in the midst of the pandemic and they’ve become quite popular for those seeking an alcoholic drink made by fermenting the juice of an apple. So, how do they manage to open in a pandemic? How is their business been? How’s the reception been on Fourth Avenue? What on Earth does Bawker Bawker even mean? We sat down with Don and Jamie to answer all of these questions and more.

Don Rubino
My name is Don Rubino, founder and I guess owner of Bawker Bawker. We’re sitting in our Tap House right now, we are on 4th Avenue at the corner of 7th and 4th.

Jaimie Perkunas
I’m Don’s wife.

Tom Heath
She doesn’t have a title yet. She’s working on it

Tom Heath
Well, I and you mentioned Tap House immediately with two sides reputation that brings up craft beer, but that’s not that’s not what Bakker Bakker is focused on right now. You’re a one-of-a-kind shop in a in a that open during a very one-of-a-kind Year tell us about your product. Tell us about your concept.

Don Rubino
So we are a cider house, right? Currently, I think today we have 23 ciders on tap we you know, we wanted to make things that were delicious people could enjoy. We’re technically under the wine World versus a beer World beer is all grain-based. We’re a fruit base. And so according to the federal government where a winery that specializes in cider and it’s you know, it’s been really fun to create the things that we do here there. We do with all different yeast that is happening. We’ve got all different flavors that we put into with our juice.

Don Rubino
We ferment everything without sulfates and nitrates. So all of our ciders are going to be considerably drier than a lot of the other commercial site. Are you find on tap? It’s one of our biggest things is people come in and they’re like, oh, you know, I’m nervous about cider and it’s like mmmm. You should try our site or first, you know, currently we don’t serve beer so it’ll be the husband or the wife that wants to come in. And they bring their spouse with them and like oh, no, I’m a beer person or I’m this and it’s like well, you know, give us give us a try and it’s one of my favorite things is to convert somebody who doesn’t drink cider to you know, leaving with cider just this past weekend.

Don Rubino
We had a couple come in and you know, we’re across the street from chaise lounge and you know, they had to wait and they didn’t necessarily want to wait in the weight and so they came here and they were like, well, you know really not too fond of you know cider but you guys were open and they ended up both leaving with to go cans, like, “Wow. This was really good” and makes me smile.

Tom Heath
With 23 Taps. Those are all made on premise correct?

Don Rubino
On premise. We have 24 different fermenters that we run through everything from five gallons to a hundred and eighty gallons we get we don’t have an orchard or an unordered based cidery so we get Both juice that fermented or not fermented. It’s it’s actually unfermented but it’s pressed within two days of press. It’s in a truck to be delivered here within three days of it leaving there. It goes into a fermenter and we process it all as soon as it shows up here and we just make all the different flavors and then it goes into a keg and some of the flavors come out right away. Some of the flavors are things. We need to make more of like today. I’m In the blueberry pomegranate, which is a flavor that we’ve had since we opened and people seem to keep liking it. So we keep making more.

Tom Heath
When I was in there a couple of weeks ago, Jamie was talking to me about your history, and this wasn’t just something that popped up being like Oh, I like cider. There’s a history of brewing in your in your and your past. Correct.

Don Rubino
Correct. Probably. Lee six years ago, was it seven six years ago? I was thinking of the brewery.

Jaimie Perkunas
Oh, but before that when we first met which was in 2008, yeah.

Jaimie Perkunas
In elementary school when we got married, you know with the first waiting and waiting. So I mean, who are you here with just one more opportunity to be creative and so he started brewing beer and then also bringing cider is making such a

Tom Heath
Ciders, it’s not just a label. I mean there’s a there’s a whole regulatory structure on site or using that word right.

Don Rubino
Regulatory. That’s a a funny thing. Yes, there is one or 50 regulatories towards making cider. It’s a Venus. It’s the amount of Apple. It’s you know, there’s all kinds of different things. The amount of bubbles that are in it. We have a tendency to make Stiller ciders, you know, some people call it flat. I prefer still there’s not a whole lot of bubbles to fill you up or to get in the way of things. I feel that our ciders are really aromatic just on their own like we did a rose. Mary seder, I don’t know while ago and we just put it on tap and you could you know, you could pick it up in the glass and it just wafted you know Rosemary.

Jaimie Perkunas
When we are also doing this when you were here the night Rose we have three nitro ciders.

Don Rubino
Nitro seder I don’t think I’ve ever had one. I know there’s a gentleman that comes in here that’s had more cider than I could imagine and he’s like yeah, this is something crazy and different.

Tom Heath
We are in the midst of our interview with Don Rubino and Jaimie Perkunas. They are the owners of the Bakr Bakr cidery on Fourth Avenue after the break. We’re going to hear about their Opening which was in the midst of a pandemic and how that’s impacted their business, but I want to remind you that you’re listening to Life along the streetcar on Downtown Radio 99.1 FM and available for streaming on Downtown Radio dot-org. Get the app do what the man says.

Tom Heath
We are going to get back to our interview here with Don and Jamie from Bawker Bawker on 4th Avenue and hear their story about opening up in the midst of a pandemic.

Tom Heath
Let’s talk a little bit about courage not the liquid courage, but the actual courage is you’ve planned this for a while and your launch date was in the midst of 2020 and if you kind of went sideways on you, but you still managed to get this thing open, too.

Don Rubino
I knew that I was going to end up doing a lot of the work and once everything happened then we ended up doing most of the work. Jamie got to learn how to tile.

Tom Heath
So that’s part of the default partner

Don Rubino
And it was scary. It was really scary. You know, it was like well when are things going to happen because there was a point we were still building that everything was shut down but we signed a lease that people have chuckled at at the amount of you know, the amount of right we signed a 10-year lease for the building and people are like wow really? And it was like, yeah, you know and it’s a point where everything shut down. We’d already torn out all the floors. We had already put in all the underground infrastructure. We had you know, the hey vac was going in on already it was you know, we were we were in it to win it at that point and there was no turning back.

Tom Heath
People are familiar with the area. You’re right on the corner of 4th and its seventh right you’re in the corner. Other than that,

Don Rubino
I can look up and see the hippie Gypsy.

Don Rubino
The shop that you took over is right on the corner and that was a fairly substantial retail outlet that had a completely different layout and when you walk into your store to your shop verses that storage it’s hard to even imagine. What it was before before so the remodel.

Jaimie Perkunas
If you want to see out how it was before we actually have with a lot of Instagram videos. So if you go back to go to our Instagram account, Bawker Bawker Cider, you can scroll all the way back to the beginning because our first honey six to eight months out of this construction.

Jaimie Perkunas
We definitely put in a lot of Sweat Equity and was here all the time.

Tom Heath
When did you get the doors open?

Jaimie Perkunas
Labor Day weekend is when we open for the tap room they even then like we so we did cans to go and we didn’t really realize how many people were looking forward to us coming because we only had like a hundred and ten followers on Instagram and Facebook. So when we posted that we were doing to goes and we sold out of cans into weekends. We were like, wow we went we had no idea that that was going to happen and then we opened up but when we opened up for Labor Day All we and everything else was opening up as well like that same weekend and all we had were already reservation we did reservations. But all we have are taste your glasses. All we could do is lights that weekend and we sold out of flight, you know flight night reservations. And so it was yeah it was I think we’re both surprised at how many people have were cheering us on behind the scenes that we didn’t even know.

Tom Heath
It’s definitely a community project at that point your you’ve got the Well wishers all wanting this to be successful that is this is the only cider specialty house in the area, right?

Don Rubino
Correct that for sure Tucson proper.

Tom Heath
So having a place then that can can create these ciders locally. That’s a that’s a rare treat for Tucson.

Jaimie Perkunas
Yes. Well it is because we have like doing lots of different flavors. So I have a list right now. How many 98 oh my God, but we do want to let us know and we can do a batch and see how it goes.

Tom Heath
Couple of things of people I know are going to ask is I had to research this a little bit the name and this Fascination that you have with chickens tell me more about this.

Jaimie Perkunas
Jamie was getting eggs at the market and was like six seven dollars a dozen and it was a little out of My comfort zone so ended up I did the math and it was easier. I guess less expensive to get chickens at the house. I got to hang out with them and I would once or twice got caught in the chicken coop Bach erring with them and I decided that it was a fun name.

Tom Heath
How has 4th Avenue been treating you I would have welcomed with open arms.

Don Rubino
Oh, yeah the coalition 47 and Nurses Association has been over the top from the get-go. They’ve been really trying to help out the best they can they’ve promoted us on their own Pages. We’ve befriended a few of the people around us and they’ve been really helpful. We’ve you know asked advice and people have shared it. It’s been you know, we haven’t had really any one kind of steel table that you know has been like Bawker Bawker there the new people and we’re not going to talk to them.

Tom Heath
If I remember correctly Jim. You said you’re selling it in other locations. It’s a couple local shops or selling it?

Jaimie Perkunas
Were an option Arizona House Hotel McCoy. We just actually a pastry to awesome Campbell’s. I’m really excited about that your website. Is that list where they can get your product? Absolutely? Yeah, so we have it listed on our website. We’ll be adding Hotel McCoy to is just as soon as they put us on tap there. And then we have a few other places that were still trying to you know, you know, let them know that what that we have available kegs and things like that. So it’s been great. I mean the community support has been not only from the patrons were coming in but the other other businesses has just like Casa video came right to us within like a week. Week of openings and hey, we want to carry your stuff and you know Trevor who’s the person who we work with has been wonderful and Berlin’s the same. They brought a video crew in and did a little video shoot about us.

Tom Heath
And so the website is its BawkerBawker.com. We will of course link to that in from our life along the streetcar Facebook page in case people want to get there. We’ll find your Instagram page Facebook. And of course people just walk around on Fourth Avenue what it’s January 2021. What are your what are your expectations for hours right now?

Don Rubino
Currently were Thursday to Sunday and we open and kind of afternoon until 10 to 10 and then they were open from noon to 6 and it doesn’t really behoove us to open, you know more days during the week. But if people keep coming in and say Hey, you know. We would really love for you to be open on Wednesday. We’re going to bring all 20 of our friends then, you know, we might open on Wednesdays and groups of 6.

Tom Heath
Vheck the website before you head out there and make sure it’s up to date and I was just I just pulled it up and I was looking at it. You have a unique trade-in program. You can bring in some of your old Growlers we decided there was enough glassware in the world, and we didn’t need to buy more glass. Just to put it into two people shelves and have it sit there. And so what we’re doing like you said is we’re allowing people to bring in their own Growler and then meets change it for one that we’ve already sanitized and clean and then we put our little keg tape on it that has our logo and then we send it home with you.

Jaimie Perkunas
That’s something a lot of recycling when we put the project the build up together as well a lot of the stuff we got we do. We made a purposeful attempt to make it recycled.

Tom Heath
Well, I think that’s probably the reason why the community is so welcoming to you the intentionality of that what haven’t we talked about? What something that that we should be covering that that has not come up yet.

Don Rubino
You can pre-order cans and whatnot on our website that way people, you know don’t have to go into the establishment. We do a curbside delivery.

Jaimie Perkunas
Our taproom Is really spacious. It’s quite a large Taproom. And so we’re really able to do a good job of keeping people, you know, nice and spread out and so there’s plenty of room but we really, you know, do a really good job as far as I think letting, you know having people feel comfortable when they’re here.

Tom Heath
Don Rubino the chicken Rancher general contractor. Yeah and Our maker and the default partner Jamie upper Kunis. We got them from zakat a light to Tucson’s burst and spider tablet. Yeah quite a story that thanks for your time. And I look forward to watching your success. Thank you so much.

Tom Heath
And one of the nice things when you go into Bakker Bakker is that typically Jamie or Don are working. So you get a chance to chat with the superstars that got this project going. My name is Tom Heath and you are listening to Life along the streetcar on Downtown Radio 99.1 FM and available for streaming on Downtown Radio.org.

Jaimie Perkunas
Please do discover the power of underwriting with Downtown Radio. We are an all-volunteer station and can use all the support that you and the community can give to us. Well, that’s going to do it as a another episode of Life along. The street cars is episode number 134 in the books. If you’re wondering what’s coming up. We’ve got some nice guests ready to go Zack Yentzer, I mentioned him earlier as part of the 01 spotlight. He is also the executive director of the Tucson Young Professionals, we’re going to get that perspective 2020 was actually a surprisingly great year for membership and they’ve got some interesting Concepts planned and some interesting collaborations underway.

Jaimie Perkunas
Later on in the month, we have Laura tanzer. She’s an internationally known clothing designer who happens to operate out of the old Depot Downtown. So we’re used to get you trained. You can now get your clothes. She’s got a sustainable business model and part of that is now teaching people through a series of web videos on how to sew and fix their own clothing. It’s part of her effort to keep people Recycling and reusing rather than just pitching and buying a new.

Jaimie Perkunas
Well, you are probably in the know. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be listened to a cool show like this. But if you are involved in you have a passion something we should be sharing. Please let us know, you know, this is a hyper local show, we cover about three miles footprint Here, so if you know of anything happening share with us hit us up on social medias and as an email contact and Life along the streetcar. However, you want to get that information to us.

Jaimie Perkunas
If you have a social media account that’s focused on Tucson link us tag us will share back and do the same. So let us know the cool things and we’ll get those out to the rest of the world. Stay tuned for an encore presentation of a lifelong the street cart episode from 2017 and we’re going to leave you today with music from what I think is a very appropriate band. They take after the owners of Bawker Bawker Don Rubino’s heart. They are stand webs Chicken Shack and

Tom Heath
we’re going to listen to the Roadies a concerto. That’s the album for 2015 and the actual song is shake your Maker, I hope you have a great week tune in next Sunday for more Life along the streetcar.

This page provided by The Heath Team at Nova Home Loans®

Tom Heath - Senior Loan Officer with Nova Home Loans