WildCraft Cider Works is celebrating its newly remodeled tasting room downtown in the best way possible — with a weekend music festival and plenty of local cider.
The Fiddlehead Festival, running Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, will christen WildCraft’s new tasting room at 232 Lincoln Street with a variety of live music — including Portland’s Shook Twins — as well as games, crafts, hard cider and non-alcoholic drinks for families.
Sean Kelly, founder and operator of WildCraft, says in an email that he had planned this new event space and tasting room for a while. WildCraft had previously used two other warehouses to process its fruit.
“Putting all staff and elements under one roof helps unify the team and definitely makes us more efficient,” Kelly says.
WildCraft was established in 2014 with the goal of creatively crafting many ingredients into their ciders. The business is special, Kelly says, because at least 60 percent of its ingredients are not purchased from growers but are harvested in restoration efforts.
“By nature, WildCraft is, as an organization, in the position to protect those resources by means of educating our community on the importance of wildland management,” Kelly says.
Kelly continues that the new WildCraft tasting room is intended to express the heritage of the community and the philosophy of the business through its use of local materials.
A light wood railing that leads upstairs as well as the tasting room’s main doors are handcrafted barn beams that have been sanded down. Supports around the facility are made with timber from the lower bottomlands restoration at Mount Pisgah, while walls are artfully covered in decommissioned apple boxes from an orchard.
“WildCraft is based on heritage,” Kelly says. “I don’t expect any of that to stop.”
Kelly adds that the facility will also host musicians, and they plan to use an upstairs area for music bookings and private parties. “Cider making is an art form, and the artist community is a part of that,” he says.
The Fiddlehead Festival will integrate that combination of cider and art by hosting bands: Portland’s Shook Twins, Petunia and the Vipers, Sugar Beets, Danny Barnes, Water Tower and Cedar Teeth.
“We are inspired by artists that share our congruent mission of community building, being responsible land stewards, use of renewable resources, and strive towards our goal of producing no waste events,” says WildCraft publicist Mike Hergenreter.
After the Fiddlehead Festival, Kelly says, the new facility will hold a soft opening and from there, WildCraft will be ready for the community to come enjoy locally sourced cider on a regular basis.