Meet Benjamin Weaver
Benjamin Weaver moved to Austin in 2008 to attend graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin. He spent his time in school focused on physics and engineering. In 2015 he decided to leave academia with the idea to start a cidery. Benjamin grew up in Washington State, which happens to be the top apple-producing and hop-producing state in the nation. In 2015, he was starting to see the craft alcohol scene take off and was familiar with the cider scene in Washington. He thought the idea of a cidery in Austin would be a good right fit because he felt like it was the craft alcohol that was underserved at the time, especially in Texas.
Benjamin launched Moontown Cider in 2017. He initially launched by himself, with no employees, until he was able to bring on his first employee 3 months later. Benjamin has always been the main maker and oversees everything at the cidery. The original location of Moontown Cider was just a tiny production space. They moved to their current location at 1916 Tillery St, which is just south of Austin’s Mueller neighborhood, in 2019. This space was previously a mortuary and the whole space needed to be completely gutted before they were able to turn the front area into a tasting room and the back into their production space.
Before he opened Moontower Cider, Benjamin was a home fermentor and made both beer and cider. He has always had a passion for cider and the process of making it. Traditional cider-making regions, which are found mostly in Europe, treat cider-making as they do wine-making. This process uses techniques such as fermenting out the fruit juices as well as using wine yeast. Moontower makes traditional cider in the same way. Using apples that come mostly from Washington, they focus on the apple itself, allowing flavors to develop over time to bring out its complexity.
Where did the name Moontower Cider come from? Benjamin was looking for a specific name, a name that meant something but also sounded cool. Moontowers were a lighting technology that was developed in the 1890s. They burned a super bright pale blue, but the bulbs burnt out fast and they were very time-consuming to maintain. Austin bought 31 used moon towers from Detroit in 1895. Today, there are 17 existing towers left in Austin, many of which can be found on the east side. These towers are the only known surviving towers in the world.
How to Support Moontower Cider
Moontower Cider is tucked into a residential area, off of E. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. They host events are encourage everyone in the neighborhood to stop by. Some of their big events include art markets and Cider Week which ends with Cider Fest where all seven Austin-area cideries gather together at Moontower Cider and you can meet the makers, enjoy product tastings, and other local vendors. Cider Week started in 2019 and they hope to continue it on a biannual basis. Keep your eyes open for their next event, you can also book a private event and find more information on their website, or stop by and visit their Tasting Room Wednesday – Saturday from 1 – 9 pm or on Sunday from 1 – 7 pm! And, be sure to check out the full interview!
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