Ace Girl No. 1

Sebastopol cidery awakens the palate with 'Star Wars'–themed release

The North Bay has long been home to the most famous humanoid of the Star Wars universe, creator George Lucas. But did you know that one of the actresses who played a bit part in the original cantina scene also makes her home here?

Betcha didn’t—unless you’ve listened to Ace Cider founder Jeffrey House over the years, that is. “He used to tell everybody that I was in Star Wars,” groans House’s wife, Angela. Eventually, she had enough: “Please don’t mention it!” she demanded. “But he kept on, of course.”

Now, as fans new and old anticipate another installment in the Star Wars franchise, House has released a new cider that’s dedicated to Angela’s brief role as Brea Tonnika. Called Space Bloody Orange Craft Cider (22 ounces, $5.99–$6.99), it’s made with a dry cider base like Ace’s Joker, with the addition of blood-orange juice. Because of a fortuitous glitch in the filtration system, it has a cloudy orange appearance that wouldn’t look out of place in any Mos Eisley dive. Fizzy, it tastes pretty much like a tequila sunrise. It’s made in limited release and features a small portrait of Brea with her hookah from the cantina scene.

But Angela never harbored a great deal of nostalgia for the time she spent during filming at Elstree Studios, London, in 1976. Makeup took two hours, and for the remaining 10 hours a day, House says, all the guys at the bar scene were trying to pick her up.

Her original title was “Space Girl Number One,” and at the time, she thought it might be another one of the B movies that she’d been in—it certainly didn’t hold a candle to her experience in an episode of Space: 1999, in which she played a member of the late, great Christopher Lee’s entourage from a distant planet. “That was more fun,” Angela says, “because it was better paid, and the studio sent a car to pick me up.” To get to Elstree, she relied on a friend whom she’d enlisted to be “Space Girl Number Two.”

Jeffrey is more upbeat about the legacy: “By chance, she ended up in the most famous scene in the most famous movie of all time.” House acknowledges his wife has had “some angst” over her Star Wars experience.

“I thought this would be a way to bring it to a successful fruition,” he says.

Ace in the Hole Cider Pub, 3100 Gravenstein Hwy. N., Sebastopol. Open Fridays from 2pm to 5pm. Possible
Star Wars–themed party Dec. 18. Stay tuned. 707.829.1223.

Sonoma County Library