The Makers


Ned Lawton - founder & cidermaker
Michelle Lawton - founder

Following their entrepreneural spirits, Ned and Michelle relocated separately to the Bay Area. Ned joined a tech start-up in Silicon Valley and Michelle pursued her vision for an early childhood program that would later become Stretch The Imagination Preschool. Shortly thereafter destiny put these two freespirits together at a Guardsmen charity event.  A year later they were married and soon after were blessed with two beautiful children.  All along they were compelled to find ways to better connect their family and friends to nature.  In the spring of 2013, Ned and Michelle had a chance to make their dreams a reality when they purchased a small heirloom apple farm on the outskirts of Sebastopol.  It's here at the their farm that the vision to create a true, working Cidery came to life. Growing organic, heirloom apples that would be  crafted into distinctive Ciders became what is now known as Ethic Ciders. 

Ryan Johnston - orchardist & cidermaker

As a storyteller, soil steward and restless solution seeker, Ryan believes a sustainable future must be both delicious and fulfilling. Growing up in west Sonoma County with a big garden and a lot of time immersed in the wildlands, Ryan’s love of living systems has deep roots. Through his work with the Daily Acts Organization and the Permaculture Skills Center, Ryan has been an educator, community organizer, project manager and designer. With Ethic he weaves background in ecological problem-solving with his zeal for craft beverages and heirloom apples. From the orchard to the glass, Ryan is involved in just about everything. If you want to geek out about apples, exchange fly fishing stories, or vision the emerging future, Ryan’s your man to grab a glass.


Shea Comfort - consultant & mentor

Hailing from the East Bay, Shea is a recognized industry leader for both wine and cider making.  Shea provides unique yeast selections and  fermentation techniques developed over 25 years working directly with his clients in the field. His attention to detail allows us to extract the very best flavor characteristics from our apples throughout the fermentation and blending process. Shea can often be found hanging around the Cidery checking brix levels or tasting through our blends to help achieve aromatic harmony.  We are blessed to have Shea as our mentor and as a friend here at Ethic Ciders.