“One day, T said, ‘Wanna make some cider? I have a friend with an apple press.’ We spent the day picking apples with our families and it was a lot of fun. We pressed the apples and made our first batch of cider … It was terrible! Undrinkable. But it was fun, and we decided to keep trying until we got cider that wouldn’t make our families gag,” said Barger.
Eventually, the pair honed their skills and detected a business opportunity. ”The craft cider market is taking off. The popularity of craft beer is turning a lot of people on to cider —it’s a gluten-free option. There’s only one other dedicated cidery in all of Indiana. Now we’re the second.”
They teamed up with other friends, Britton Falkenstern and Don and Greg Goeglien, owners of Goeglien Catering and the Goeglien Mill. The mill and its original apple press date back to 1929. It houses Kekionga’s operations and tasting room — a family-friendly space, selling both fresh-pressed cider (non- alcoholic) for the kids and hard cider for the grown-ups.
Kekionga Cider is on tap at a number of local restaurants. Its bottled ciders are available at S&V Liquors.
Barger explained the artwork on the “Old Bicorn” labels: “A bicorn is an old-time military hat — General Wayne wore one. The other cider, Brass Cannon, is from Wayne’s nickname for his favorite gun. Next year, we’ll be naming all the ciders after Fort Wayne historical figures.”