Our mission is simple. Make great cider.
Each fall, Kennebec Cider sets out to find the best, most flavorful apples Maine has to offer. We start by using all of the apples in our small orchard and then travel throughout Kennebec County and beyond to find as many unique and delicious cider apples as we can.
Next the bins of apples get pressed, poured into the tank and ready for fermentation. The yeast is added and the tank is brought to the fermentation room.
Time to let the yeast do the work (and it takes patience!). Primary fermentation can take anywhere from two weeks to several months. Once it's fermented to dryness, we “rack” the cider off it's lees. This means we pump the juice off the lees and into another tank. Depending on what we are making, we will allow the cider to age or add blueberries or quince for our other varieties. Allowing the cider additional time to age gives it more complexity, clarity and flavor.
As soon as the cider gets the flavor we are looking for, we are ready to bottle. We add a small amount of sugar to the juice which restarts the fermentation in the bottle allowing it to carbonate over several weeks. Bottle conditioning adds a unique effervescence that is hard to find in other ciders.
Are we done? Not yet! As soon as the bubbles are just perfect, it's time to bottle pasteurize to halt the yeast while keeping just a bit of sweetness.
This process results in the Kennebec Cider we love and are proud to produce. If you haven't tried it yet, we hope you will soon!
Maine produces some of the best apples in the world. Our rich dark soils, warm summers, and cool fall nights create apples full of color and flavor. It is no coincidence that farmers have been growing apples here for over 200 years. Some of the first apple growers in Kennebec County were the two brothers from Hallowell, Charles and Benjamin Vaughn. In the late 1700s, they planted extensive orchards and built a large cider mill on their farm. They made hard cider with their apples and shipped it to ports from Boston to New Orleans. The first orchard in our town of Winthrop is thought to have been planted by Ichabod Howe around the same time period. Howe laid out many of Winthrop's roads, organized construction of the first church, and served as a town selectman. He brought apple seeds from Ipswich, Massachusetts when he settled the area and developed several new varieties of apples including the Winthrop Greening. Over the years, many other apple varieties have been developed in Winthrop including the Moses Wood, Winthrop Pearmain, Fairbanks, Stanley, and Winekist apples.