Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2018

Ciderworks to expand production

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Feb 08, 2018
Source: PHOTO COURTESY OF KATIE GREENFIELD This is an aerial view of Jefferson County Ciderworks, which plans to expand its production facilities into a vacant 12,000-square foot building on Grimes Avenue.

Jefferson County Ciderworks is expanding production and will move into a 12,000-square foot building in Fairfield.

When the new production facility is up and running, the business will be one of the largest cider producers in the state. Renovations are underway, and production is expected to commence at the facility by the end of March. The business is expanding into retail sales with the addition of both a canning and bottling line.

The company bought a building on Grimes Avenue that was once a millwork manufacturing facility, but has been vacant for more than a decade. Katie Greenfield, co-owner of the business with Jesse Narducci, said they liked the idea of breathing life back into an existing building.

“The building itself is in quite good shape,” she said. “It’s got great electrical everywhere. We’ll have to renovate the plumbing and drainage because of the nature of our business. Since it was a millwork facility before, it didn’t have the need for plumbing that we do.”

Jefferson County Ciderworks’s current production facility is 2,500 square feet, just outside town near their 800-tree orchard. Greenfield said they plan to use all the space in the new building, which is essentially three buildings tied together. About 10,000 square feet will be used for production and the remaining space will be for the shop and offices. The company plans to hire two full-time and two part-time workers.

The business’s current office is a combined tap room and production facility. Greenfield said they will continue to do some production at the tap room, and possibly expand it for additional seating.

“There is so much demand for our product,” she said. “We’re planning to enter retail space, so we needed more than our current location could offer.”

Greenfield said she and Narducci kicked around the idea of building a new production facility onto their existing one, but decided against it.

“We felt really strongly from a community perspective to use what was existing within our city before building a new building,” she said. “When manufacturing jobs leave and we have all these buildings sitting vacant for 10 years, how can we build new when there are perfectly good facilities here in town?”

The business noted in a news release that the closure of the former millwork facility was part of a larger economic trend across Iowa, which has lost 39,000 manufacturing jobs since 2000. Meanwhile, the craft beverage sector is booming, contributing $860 million to the state’s economy in 2016.

“With so many manufacturing jobs leaving our state, it was important for us to support the community by investing in existing infrastructure, and create new jobs that can’t be outsourced,” said Narducci, head cidermaker. “Like the heritage cider apple orchards we’ve planted in Jefferson County, this move represents our dedication not only to local agriculture, but also to the local economy, and the community Ciderworks calls home.”

The cidery is working with Indian Hills Community College to develop a branch-to-bottle cidermaking apprentice program focused on teaching how to both farm and ferment apples. Working in the new facility, the fulltime apprentice will learn skills that can be applied elsewhere in the cider business, or in the broader craft brewing and distilling, winemaking, and culinary industries.

“We started this business because we want to grow apples in Iowa, to expand the agricultural community through creating a value-added product,” Greenfield said. “We want to bring back the apple, in all its glory—through new american cidermaking techniques and flavors. In the past few years, we’ve come to see the whole wonderful community in Jefferson County become our friends and supporters—and we’re thrilled that this move will allow use to reach even more people.”




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