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Tim’s Story

If you’ve ever had a coffee from Tim Shallard, or listened as he opened up the scriptures, you’ll already know the common element to everything he does is his ability to get to the heart of things.

Quiet, reflective, sincere, contemplative. In some ways he’s the ‘soul’ of the Crave machine, or perhaps ‘monk’ is a better word. He’s the abbot who contemplates the things of life, both revealed and mysterious, and pushes for those things to be reflected in the life of the cafe and the Collective that sits behind it. Spiritual practice is his jam—but not solely in a ‘faith community’ kind of way. Drinking coffee or smoking a cigar or brewing a barrel of cider is as much a spiritual practice for Tim as prayer, or musing on a sacred text.

If you’re ever in doubt there’s a hidden, deeper reality to the world that we inhabit, sit with Tim for a while. You’ll still have the doubt … but you’ll enjoy the fact you have it.

So when Tim turned his attention to the brewing of apple cider, it was obvious this was going to be no half-hearted measure. And sure enough, several months after the concept of MorningCider was first verbalised, the actual bar is open and patrons are already finding their way to the back of the alley in the new Morningside precinct and, like the biblical Eve, getting tempted by dem apples.

But MorningCider was almost not about cider at all. It was going to be a bicycle shop.

Yep. A bicycle shop.

‘Me and Nigel (Cottle) were in the States,’ Tim says, relating the story. ‘We were at this neighbourhoods conference and coming up with ideas, and in the real scheming stage of life—like the most fun stage of life. Thinking about cool ways to make Morningside a better place to live.

‘What emerged was my amazing idea of MorningCycle. I thought it was a great idea, I was really pumped about it.

‘I called my wife that night to tell her about about my new career path and she’s like, “MorningCycle? It sounds like a feminine hygiene product”. In that moment my dream died a little.’

For obvious reasons, Tim was disappointed. That all ended that night, when, Tim says, he and Nigel were doing the usual ‘after-Christian conference pub crawl’. (It’s not that usual.)

‘We were looking for somewhere to have a drink and ended up in this weird place in Tacoma. There was this really cool little cider bar with 35 ciders on tap—really interesting flavours. It was like the craft beer world met the cider world.

‘Neither of us were cider drinkers, but we tried it and had a great time. We tried heaps of different ciders. There were these fridges full of them, all international, all styles, including really grungy bourbon infused. So we were pumped, we had a really cool time. It was like, “Oh, this is what we have to do—MorningCider”.’

What Tim says next has to be understood in light of how this story began—with Tim as the spiritual one, the reflective monk. He says it was almost like MorningCider was … revealed.

‘It was almost like it wasn’t a decision. It just emerged. Like it was almost given to us. The question for us was, how could we NOT do this? It just seemed like so much fun.’

MorningCider as it is now, down the end of what feels like a miniature Diagon Alley, is owned by Tim, Nigel, Lou Giles (Husk) and Heather Buchan. As Tim points out, three of those four are the ‘pastors’ in the Crave Collective.

‘That same year I had been writing an assignment on the monks and how the monastaries in Europe had been behind what transformed society, post all the destruction in the Dark Ages. They were the first place of creativity and life, and I was really into it.

‘That’s the dream, to be able to do things purposefully. I spent a whole year doing stuff in my head, writing assignments and thinking. So it’s nice to do something physical like having to lift heavy barrels, and letting things sit for a while—it’s amazing what time does to something.’

It’s clear Tim is loving this stage of where he is. His face won’t be seen around Crave as much as it was. But if you want to see a man with a smile on his face, then you know where to find him.

‘I was making a zero alcohol cider, and I got the barrels confused. I was tasting it, and I was like, Wow, how is there so much depth and complexity? But it was the super alcohol one. So, confusion, but fine.

‘I think that is part of the monk philosophy. It takes time and it develops and it gets character. And it ages.’

And the ‘vibe’ of MorningCider?

‘We’re aiming for cheeky and local. We want it to be the best place to drink, where you can go and have 11 different ciders on tap and try lots of different things you’ve never tried. There’s nothing like that around.’

There’s a social enterprise aspect to MorningCider too. They’re wanting to plant 200 apple trees in the neighbourhood from which they will source fruit for the cider. They want locals to have a part in the orchard, effectively forming an urban cidery.

‘You’ll become a part of our orchard and then you’ll become part of our pressing festival, where we’ll press all the apples together. Then about three to four months later we’ll have a cider which we can drink together. That will be an exciting experience.’