Cider from one of Chicago’s favorite cider bars hits store shelves: ‘It’s a little bit of a eureka moment'
by Josh Noel / Chicago Tribune / September 8, 2022
When opening as Chicago’s only cider-focused bar in 2016, The Northman knew it needed to educate customers. It did so by creating a down-the-middle house cider to hand to patrons upon taking a seat: a few ounces of not-too-sweet, not-too-dry, not-too-tart, not-too-acidic cider made expressly for the bar. From there, customers could tack whichever direction they chose.
The Northman continued tweaking that house cider, and as it did, a surprising thing happened: rather than use it as a starting point to order something else, people increasingly ordered a full pour of it. Bar operators kept pushing the cider drier, which both customers and their own palates
“We luckily and inadvertently had a huge testing ground to work on it for years,” The Northman co-founder Aaron Zacharias said. “When you get a majority of people saying, ‘I want to stay right here and drink this,’ it’s a little bit of a eureka moment.”
By the time Zacharias and his partners closed The Northman’s original North Center location in 2020 to focus on a version along the Chicago Riverwalk, there were big plans for that house cider never envisioned when The Northman opened: putting it into cans so it could be had anywhere, anytime. This spring, it finally arrived.
Just as Frontera Foods grew out of Frontera Grill and the legendary Home Run Inn branched into frozen pizza, The Northman has turned what started as a pub to a brand on store shelves. Northman Cider Co. launched in 2020, but only as a draft product at a handful of accounts until canning began this year. Read more HERE