From public health to the public house: How a young couple created Philadelphia’s newest cidery
If you haven’t yet heard of Philadelphia-based Cider Belly, you’re not alone. But given that the husband and wife–operated cidery has only been in existence for a mere six months, you’d be forgiven. Still, this relatively nascent cidery is moving quickly in the greater Philadelphia area and is poised to do big things.
Matthew and Kimberly Vendeville are the co-founders of Cider Belly. The two met at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health and still hold down full-time jobs outside the cidery. They’ve since moved to eastern Pennsylvania, in large part to build the Cidery Belly brand. We sat down with the two of them to better understand the couple’s journey as cider lovers who would ultimately become cidermakers.
Editor’s note: As part of a collaboration with Illinois-based CiderScene, this interview is organized in two parts. One half is published below. The other half is posted at CiderScene – simply click the link at the bottom of this page. And once you’ve finished this Q&A with the founders of Cider Belly, make sure to explore CiderScene for more great information about cider and cidermakers.
Cidercraft/CiderScene: Cider Belly is relatively new to the scene in Eastern Pennsylvania – it has officially existed for about six months. Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and your brand?
Matthew Vendeville: The Cider Belly story began when we met at graduate school where we bonded over a mutual dream of one day beginning a business. After many ideas, a wedding, two dogs and a move to Eastern Pennsylvania, we have taken our first step towards the dream that brought us together. Cider Belly began as my hobby — which quickly became a passion. After endless nights of research, countless pilot batches and, with Kim’s support, Cider Belly launched in October 2021.
Kimberly Vendeville: Since we both have full-time jobs, we have taken a stepwise approach by producing small batches and selling at local businesses or events on the weekends. We believe in supporting our community through purchasing our production materials (ingredients, packaging, etc.) locally. Our goal is to deliver a delicious, dry cider by using the least amount of ingredients, in their most natural form and without adding sugars, syrups or anything artificial.
Cidercraft/CiderScene: How would you describe the ciders you produce?
MV: Our goal is to produce and continually refine two flagship ciders with a rotating seasonal cider. The flagship ciders are called Original and Twice Hopped. We have produced two additional seasonal ciders called Cinnamon and Moscow Mule. Moscow Mule is our new flavor and will be available in the coming months. We partner with Beekman Orchard to create a blend of 10+ apple varieties which we use as the base for each of our ciders. Beekman’s is a local, family run orchard that has been in business for over 70 years.
Cidercraft/CiderScene: Establishing a cidery while holding down full-time jobs must have been a whirlwind for both of you. At the risk of not allowing you to take a breath and relax, what do you have planned for Cider Belly in the future?
KV: In the near future, we plan to continue building our relationships with local businesses to get our product out into the world. Concurrently, we are actively searching for a taproom location. We look forward to making our mark in the cider world by producing a great product while also being mindful and intentional in all that we do.
When we have extra time, we find ourselves talking about the future taproom location that we want to bring to life. We dream about a warm space that is welcoming to everyone that walks through the door. We want the design to be intentional and a story to accompany each item that we bring into the space. We also look forward to becoming an integral part of a community where we can give back and help where it is needed.
MV: Customer experience is just as important to us as the quality of our product. We want the experience to outlive the cider in the glass. We hope to create a taproom that people return to because of the good feelings that they get from the space and those they interact with.
Click here to continue the interview with Matthew & Kimberly Vendeville of Cider Belly on the pages of CiderScene.
Find out where you can find Cider Belly by following them on Facebook and Instagram @ciderbellyhardcider.