Hannah Carlson


Branches to bottles — A guide to Utah’s first hard cider distillery


I was inspired to write my enterprise story about Mountain West Hard Cider after visiting the distillery for the first time back in September. 

Prior to visiting Mountain West, I had never tasted authentic hard cider and my curiosity was unmatched. Being newly of drinking age, I hadn’t yet experienced a fair variety of liquor. I felt that I needed to find my drink. You know, my go-to, something I could always keep in the fridge and swear by to others. 

After some research, I found Mountain West and within days I was visiting the distillery with my boyfriend. 

It was fascinating. We sampled different ciders, asked questions, and learned so much about hard cider. The staff was friendly, thoughtful, and clearly passionate about their product.

Ultimately, I was inspired by Mountain West’s dedication to the team’s craft, their strong sense of community, and the distillery’s unique position in Utah’s liquor industry.

After approaching Jennifer Carlton about the idea of my enterprise story, she agreed to help me gather additional information and sources. I feel lucky to have worked with such a cooperative and helpful organization during my first publishable story.

As I began writing about Mountain West, my enterprise story was writing itself. After all, I wasn’t writing a new story for Mountain West, I was simply sharing its story and thoughtfully putting the pieces of each source together as one.

Throughout the writing process, I had a difficult time condensing my work down into one meaningful and impactful story. I wanted so badly to share every fascinating detail and every humorous quote I was given from the Mountain West team. I quickly realized that wasn’t sustainable. At the rate I was going, I was going to have a 20-page story on my hands within hours. 

Eventually, I was able to trim and condense my story into something much slimmer yet still jam-packed with interesting information. 

Overall, I am extremely proud of my story and the work I have put into it.

Working with Mountain West was an honor and lucky for me, I also found my new go-to drink along the way.


Hannah Carlson (she/her) is a current communication and business student. Carlson began her studies at the University of Utah in 2017 as a business marketing major, later switching her degree to strategic communication. The switch began after Carlson stumbled upon her newfound interest in writing after taking a media writing course. She is on track to graduate from the university in the spring of 2021 with a minor in business and a bachelor of science degree in strategic communication. 

Next spring, Carlson has set to expand her writing abilities through various writing-intensive, journalism, and professional editing courses. She will also join the university’s Her Campus chapter as a team writer while continuing as the chapter secretary of the university’s Public Relations Student Society of America. 

Post-graduation, she is excited to pursue a profession in news writing or public relations.

Carlson’s ultimate goal, however, is to make a positive difference in her community through her writing.