For co-owner Peter Moon, there's no such thing as a bad apple
Shopping for produce in the supermarket can be a tough venture. To quote Kramer from “Seinfeld,” “The apples are mealy, the oranges are dry. I don't know what's going on with the papayas.”
To be fair, consumers can be a bit too picky.
“Everybody wants a perfect apple,” said Peter Moon, who owns Mad Moon Craft Cidery with his wife, Sally. “If there's a little blemish on it, it's like, ‘I'm not eating that.' But the apple farmers are really glad that we're around, because we'll take them all.”
Moon and company have been dealing in apples since 2014, when they opened the only cidery in Columbus, tucked away on Britains Lane in Linden. They used to press and grind their locally sourced apples onsite; now their farmer brings the juice directly. They've also expanded production with a new, 30-barrel brite tank and have been operating a taproom on Saturdays and Sundays for nearly a year.
“It's going well,” Moon said. “The events that we do occasionally, we get really good turnouts. … It seems like the weekends are up and down but gradually getting better. Nicer weather will help.”
The charming, cozy establishment offers two spaces for patrons: the front room, with living room chairs and an eye-catching, green mural behind the bar, or the back room, which offers a personal peek into the production facility. There, consumers can sit at a table made from apple crates and play Game Cube or Sega.
The stars of the facility are the seven rotating ciders on tap, the newest being Tart Side of the Moon, made with Sweet Tarts. And people are encouraged to experiment.
“They'll combine ciders,” Moon said. “The one that is really sticking has been the cinnamon with the caramel apple. … We tapped it yesterday and they were stoked. People were buying growlers to go.”
Overall, the craft cider industry is lagging behind the craft beer industry, but Moon said it's catching on. “It's really popular in other parts of the country like Seattle [and] Portland,” said Moon, who recalled visiting a bar in that area with 32 ciders on tap. “You're not gonna see that in Ohio.”
Still, local beer brewers are beginning to branch out. “[People] are getting a little hopped out,” said Mad Moon Assistant Brewer Rory Harms. “They want something different for their palates. And whether that be pushing back into the wine scene, watching the sour beer explode [or] going into cider — I think any of those are fair game.”
Mad Moon would also like to explore sour ciders and open a cider house in another neighborhood —provided the apple supply remains stable.
“You really depend on the weather,” Moon said. “If you get cold snaps, it can kill some of the blossoms. … That hasn't happened yet since we started. We've been lucky. Knock on wood that it continues.”