When it comes to designing spaces, one of the goals (if not the goal) is to create something more than just a sum of all design elements, but in doing so to achieve a cohesive combination that looks and feels genuine, authentic. The Apiary, a mead and cider tasting room, and one of the newest additions to the Carpinteria industrial park, is a testimony to the creative genius of Nole Cossart, who created such a space. From the whitewashed walls to the reclaimed wood to bouquets of dried herbs and flowers—everything works together to transport the visitors to a place that they may not be able to put their finger on it, but to one that’s comfortable, whimsical, and nostalgic at the same time. On a recent afternoon, Nole and I had a nice chat about starting a business, building bar stools, and the difference between mead and cider—all over a glass of Jun, a probiotic tonic mead, and The Apiary’s latest tap offering.
Growing up just north of Santa Barbara, where, in his own words, "one either becomes a surfer or a cowboy", Nole chose the former, and the time spent surrounded by nature shines through in every element of his business. Looking at the shelves lined with jars of herbal elixirs, honey, and various concoctions he uses in his brewing recipes, one can't but feel the old-school apothecary vibe. Making small batches of mead and cider allows Nole to source seasonal, organic ingredients from local farms and orchards.
Working with a limited budget, Nole had to prioritize the long to-do list a brand new business owner faces. Learning carpentry skills from his dad, taking design courses in high school, and shaping a surf board or two—all came in handy in the process of creating the space that serves as the production site and the tasting room for The Apiary. Hand-lettering his logo and signage, printing postcards, repurposing wood pallets to make the seating, using bee boxes to create the back drop and the foundation of the tap bar—the elbow grease does not seem to run out!
Though not much of a use trying to summon Uber, the rotary phone is used by patrons mainly to order pizza.
The Apiary is a tasting room for the time being, but Nole hopes to offer bottled mead and cider in the near future. Hours and location here.