My name is Will Loughlin. I am the cider maker at the Riverhead Ciderhouse. My normal day starts around 9:30. I come in and my first step is to make sure that my room is clean. To have a good product, we have to have everything clean. I scrub the floor and then, to clean up the excess water, I drive a Zamboni around, which brushes the floor while vacuuming up the water.
So there’s a lot of cleaning in cider making that people don’t realize. It’s mostly cleaning tanks, cleaning floors, cleaning everything, cleaning kegs. The way to clean the tanks is to start with water, then we use a chemical called Caustic, which will break down any solids on the tank. We then use water again followed by a sanitizer and water once again. The whole process takes about 30 minutes. So I’m the only one back here making the cider.
There’s a lot of little things that I have to do and there’s a lot of things all together. So I’m here a lot of the time. The process of cider making has steps, and step one is, of course, receiving the juice. We then add yeast and ferment the mixture. We let it chill and settle, then filter the now-fermented juice.
Once that completes, we sweeten it up and flavor it and then add the carbonation. We then package it in kegs and bottles. I’ll also come back here and help out with people behind the bar throughout the day if anyone needs help, because we do get a little busy on the weekends.
We also have our own orchard on the side of the cider house, which contains about 220 trees with 15 different varieties. We will not be making all of our ciders with this but we will definitely be making some special reserves. Also, we will be receiving two bee hives next season. The bees will pollinate the trees and they will help the community because bees are at a shortage right now. We will be making our own honey in the future as well. The most rewarding part of my job would be actually creating something that other people like.