New American Ciders: Jefferson County Ciderworks Expands to Larger Fairfield Facility

Jefferson County Ciderworks
Katie Greenfield and Jesse Narducci, founders of Jefferson County Ciderworks (photo by Luke Stenger)

Started in 2013 by Iowa natives Jesse Narducci and Katie Greenfield, Jefferson County Ciderworks has become one of the hot hangouts in Fairfield. Using different fermentation and aging techniques as well as innovative flavor combinations, Ciderworks is redefining traditional hard cider, creating new American ciders like Apple Pie and Hibiscus Rose.

Part of the growing craft-brewing trend in Iowa, Ciderworks now needs a larger production space to meet demands. Three years after opening its cidery and taproom on the outskirts of town, Ciderworks is expanding into a former millwork manufacturing facility, the Long Manufacturing space on West Grimes. Vacant for more than a decade, the 12,000-plus square foot building will allow the cidery to dramatically increase production and expand into retail sales, with the addition of both a canning and bottling line.

jefferson county ciderworks
The Ciderworks on a summer night (photo by Paul Delisle)

“With so many manufacturing jobs leaving our state, it was important for us to support the community by investing in existing infrastructure, and create new jobs that can’t be outsourced,” says head cider maker Jesse Narducci. “Like the heritage cider apple orchards we’ve planted in Jefferson County, this move represents our dedication not only to local agriculture, but also to the local economy and the community Ciderworks calls home.”

jefferson county ciderworks
Ciderworks ciders

Once the new production facility is fully operational, Ciderworks expects to be one of the largest cider producers in the state. The resultant expansion creates two full-time and two part-time positions, and Ciderworks is working with Indian Hills Community College on an apprenticeship program. Focused on both apple farming and fermenting, an apprentice would work full time in the new facility, learning about the cider business, a skill set transferrable to the broader craft brewing and distilling, winemaking, and culinary industries.

jefferson county ciderworks
The Ciderworks orchard is planted with 800 apples trees, many of them heirloom varieties.

Ciderworks brews their popular cider from apples Narducci planted on the family farm, and supplements their crop from other suppliers to meet demands. Before prohibition, Iowa was one of the top apple-producing states, and Ciderworks wants to re-enliven that heritage. The 800-tree orchard, planted with many heirloom cider apple varieties nearly lost to history, is now the backbone of Ciderworks’ New American Ciders.

“We started this business because we want to grow apples in Iowa, to expand the agricultural community through creating a value-added product,” says Katie Greenfield. “We want to bring back the apple in all its glory—through new American cider-making techniques and flavors. In the past few years, we’ve come to see the whole wonderful community in Jefferson County become our friends and supporters—and we’re thrilled that this move will allow us to reach even more people.”

Greenfield adds they have received tremendous support from local organizations, as well as the Iowa Wine Growers, the Iowa Brewers Guild, and the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Association.