I’m a city kid, growing up in Central Ohio. How would a city kid in Ohio get into cidermaking? As a kid our family would take weekend and day trips out to the country to hike in the state parks, cookout and hit up local family-owned businesses. In the fall it meant bringing home lots of apples! I loved all the different colors and shapes of the apples at the farm markets we would visit. I distinctly remember being very little and asking what a peck and a bushel are.
2015 I took a few trips to KY and toured some craft distilleries and made a few more trips back and checked out local breweries. Prior to that I had only had an occasional big-name beer. I quickly became fascinated about the process and the people who are making craft beverages. Then started checking out the local breweries, wineries, distilleries and meaderies. What resonated with me was the passion these folks had for their craft.
In 2018 I started trying my hand with a beer making kit, it was drinkable but nothing to write home about. I thought I would try making hard cider using those Ohio apples I grew up on to make a craft cider. The first gallon batch was drinkable and shared it with a friend one evening. That gallon went fast and I started to learn all I can and continued to make more batches of cider. A hobby quickly became a passion.
Back in early 2019 I started exploring what it would take to do this commercially so I could share my passion with others. I made dozens and dozens of batches, adjusting as I learned more with each batch and have launched Hellbranch beverages to bring more cider to Central Ohio.