FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Not quite a full year into cider-making, and Kekionga Cider Company has found success on the northeast side of Fort Wayne. It all started as a hobby for Tyler Butcher and Logan Barger.
Over the course of the last year, they’ve made nearly 20 different varieties of cider, combining apples with other fruits. But, of course, the apple is the most important part. Kekionga Cider Company is proud to use locally-grown apples and fruits whenever possible. They say that old styles like winesap and northern spy work better for ciders than popular varieties like honeycrisp or gala simply because of their higher acid content.
From start to finish, a typical batch of hard cider takes about a month to make. And it’s all done in a building filled with history. In fact, besides once serving as a cider mill, it also served as a cannery during WWII. They’ve transformed the building back into an apple cider mill, complete with an original apple press.
One of the most unique things about Kekionga Cider Company is their logo. The logo has an old-style map of Fort Wayne, sourced from the military journal of Major Ebenezer Denny, dating all the way back to 1790.
According to Barger, a self-proclaimed history buff, many of the names of ciders they produce have a connection to history, too. The Kekionga Cider Company flagship cider, “Old Bicorne,” is named after the two-pointed style of hat that General Anthony Wayne wore. Meanwhile, their tart cherry cider “Harmar’s Defeat” is named after General Harmar, who was sent to attack the city of Kekionga by George Washington and failed.
The folks at Kekionga Cider Company owe their success to local support and know that will play a big role in their future.They’re adding heating to the mill so they can stay open year-round and hope to have a kitchen open later this year.
Kekionga Cider Company is located at 7328 Maysville Road in Fort Wayne. You can find their flagship cider – Old Bicorne – on tap at several local restaurants and bars. Old Bicorne will also be available at retail stores by the end of May.