Means, who owns the company with his brother, Brad, and their friend Trafe Brewer, will make, bottle, keg and distribute their brand out of the St. Joseph space. The Means brothers were born in St. Joseph, moved away and came back. Jeff Means graduated from the Steven. L. Craig School of Business at Missouri Western State University in 2011. Brewer also lived in St. Joseph for a while.
Jeff Means said with their connections to St. Joseph, the men weren't against looking to locate operations here despite the fact they all live in the Kansas City area. They started planning their cidery back in September 2016, but their interest started way before.
All three men have been brewing their own beer at home for years. When a good friend was diagnosed with celiac disease, their consumption needs changed. “We all began looking for a beverage that tasted good but also something our friend could drink without ill effects,” Means said. He admits they all bought into the stigma that many people have about ciders. “It was something that I wouldn't have drank in the past,” he said. “It's a misconception that it's a sugary drink.”
The group found themselves in a cider bar in the Pacific Northwest and gave it a try.
“It was craft cider that was actually complex,” Means said. “There's so much possibilities to it. It's one of the fastest growing (drinks) in the beverage industry. You can actually make it complex and good.” All of the apples used in the local cider will come from Missouri, a majority from a 100-mile radius of St. Joseph.
The Kansas City Cider Company will be open by September. While they will be distributing to a few local restaurants and bars, a bulk of their customers are in the Kansas City area. “We're hoping to just educate people as to what cider actually is,” Means said. “We know we have a long uphill battle in educating people on what it even is.”
The focus for now is to have just the manufacturing and distribution operations in St. Joseph. But long term, the facility could include a tap room for local customers to come in and drink some cider.