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Dominic O’Reilly (’12) bottles a batch of Anna's Cider Dominic O’Reilly (’12) bottles a batch of Anna's Cider“Anna’s Cider had only just begun making ground when the Thomas Fire hit, sparing nothing,” begins a recent story in the Ventura County Reporter. The cider house, based in Santa Paula, California, and owned by alumni Anna (Dunlap) and Dominic O’Reilly (both ’12), had begun bottling its initial run of dry and semi-dry ciders when the fire wiped out $15,000 in product alone.

“The future, however, is bright, as the couple aims to rebuild and take their shared experience on to bigger and better goals,” the story continues.

The head winemaster at Topa Mountain Winery in Ojai, Mr. O’Reilly had recently begun to expand into the hard-cider business, sensing a demand for drier varieties. “The couple’s cider appeared once in keg form at Azu Restaurant in Ojai,” author Chris O’Neal writes, “and they had plans to release more to restaurants and even bottle ‘Batch #3’ before the fire hit.”

Undeterred, however, the O’Reillys intend to press forward with Anna’s Cider. They have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help recover their losses, and they have already chosen a name for Anna’s Cider’s next batch. “As soon as we get back on our feet,” Mrs. O’Reilly tells the Recorder, “our first batch that we do we’re going to call the Phoenix Blend, the comeback after the fire.”