We always admire those that go out and start a cidery, and we really want to get in the mindset of newer business owners. In tandem, we also like to highlight new businesses to get their perspective on things and draw some attention to business owners as they get off the ground.
And when it comes to Ethan Keller’s vision, he wanted to bring craft cider to Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Cache Cider. His goal was to make the apple the star with single varietal ciders that speak to the truth behind the fruit. Let’s dig into our chat with Ethan about his business, Cache Cider.
My main practice is to make single-varietal hard ciders with minimal intervention. So sometimes I tell people that I’m more of a “cider archivist” than a cider maker. One name under consideration for the cidery was “Archival Ciders.” But the synonym “Cache” seemed much cooler and rolled off the tongue much more easily.
It’s just me right now. I’ve been making booze for eight years, focusing on single-varietal hard apple ciders. I also make some other things like honeywines and fruit wines. (I have some 7-year maple mead on my shelf and will probably try a maple mead again).
The tasting room is almost finished. Ciders are available for sale at the facility right now, but only to-go. Distribution to retail stores, bars, restaurants is next up, as well as online sales. Soon, when I get a liquor license from the city, people can drink ciders on premises.
Milwaukee is my home. And I love my home state. I was born and raised in southeastern Wisconsin suburbs, but have always called Milwaukee home. I have been living here since 1999. It’s also a great place to have a home base as an artist, and I’ve been a touring musician for over 20 years. Also, this city, known as “Brew City” by many throughout its history, HAD NO CIDERY. No winery. WHAT? This blew my mind. It’s still a bit surreal to me that I started the first winery/cidery in Milwaukee.
Raising my son. Making decent cider. Keep recording and touring. Buy some land. Plant more apple trees. Build an eco-house.
When I started out making cider, I had only gotten a few verbal tips from a mass-medal winning amateur winemaker at a local homebrewing store. (Eventually I wound up going through Texas Tech’s enology program). My inspirations are the apples themselves. I fell in love with apples and apple stories after watching the Botany of Desire on PBS. My ciders are usually devoid of sulfites unless I want to preserve color. I use commercial yeasts. I often arrest fermentation. And I rarely filter ciders. This year I clocked the highest specific gravity I’ve ever seen in an apple cider (1080); the apple is Ashmead’s Kernel and with it I produced a 9.6% single-varietal cider (wine).
@cachecider on Twitter and Instagram
The idea has been to become the missing link between Milwaukeeans/Wisconsinites who all love their agriculture and local products and love their cold beverages. This state has a historic apple tradition and a national foothold in the market to this day. Yet, the cider tradition has been missing. So I hope the community can take “pride” in having a cidery. The press has been amazing! (I’m lucky to have only been fielding interview requests as they come in, and not having to seek out media).
All apples can be cider apples. Some of my favorite single varietal ciders over the years:
Discover our Wisconsin Cider Guide