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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Tiny Friendly Beasts Turn Apples Into Booze

In honor of the friendly beasts that make cider possible (the yeast), each cider is named after some kind of creature or another.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Fatima Carson and Benjamin Romlein, opened Friendly Beasts Cider Company in September of this year.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Each cider name involves an animal of some sort, in keeping with the "beast" theme.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    A friend is responsible for all of the artwork for Friendly Beasts. If she is not around to update the chalkboard, they just tape up some newsprint with the name of the new cider variety, until they come up with a better system.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Romlein replaces one of the cider kegs while Carson holds open the lid to the cooler.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Where the magic happens, in the cider room.

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    Photo: Courtesy of Friendly Beasts Cider Company

    This is the cider press Romlein describes in the interview.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    The menu at Friendly Beasts changes as they develop new variations and flavors for the cider.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    When the weather is nice they throw open the garage door to their inviting interior space, visible from Bloomington's B-Line Trail.

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    Photo: Courtesy of Friendly Beasts Cider Company

    One of the advantages of the the garage door is the ability to bring in large crates of apples.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    They keep a few snack mixes on hand, but otherwise the menu is simple, consisting mostly of cider.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Carson and Romlein and did most of the build-out for the space themselves.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Carson says that customers have referred the style of the place as "so Bloomington," she's not sure what that means exactly, but she's happy with that description.

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    Photo: Kayte Young/WFIU

    Romlein says that he was told that customers would be more receptive to sweet ciders, since that's what is mostly available from large scale commercial operations such as Wood Chuck or Angry Orchard. But on their first weekend open in Bloomington, they sold out of their driest cider first.

Today on our show we talk to the owners of Friendly Beasts, a new cider company in Bloomington Indiana.

I think I’m pretty entrepreneurial minded. My friends and family joke that I’m always coming up with different schemes and ideas of businesses that we could run. And a lot of them have been more ridiculous.But people humor me with those pitches.                                                                              –Fatima Carson

Our conversation is part of a new series on Earth Eats called Making the Leap. The series is focused on what it takes to get started with a new food business (or, in this case, a new beverage business). I’m interested in what inspires someone to muster up the courage to make the leap into the unknown, into the unpredictable world of running a small business.

Also in this episode, Harvest Public Media brings us a story on fraud in the organic food industry.

And Doug Spradley, head bartender at Farm Bloomington Restaurant, introduces us to a warming and festive cocktail for those chilly winter evenings.

Stories On This Episode

Consumers Trust Organic Labels, Fraud Threatens The Industry


Harvest Public Media's Kristofor Husted finds that policing fraud in the organic food industry isn't an easy task.

The Bloomington Coffee-A Festive Cocktail For Wintertime


Do you love to play with fire? This fancy coffee drink involves lighting rum on fire, and caramelizing sugar in your glass.

Kayte Young

Kayte Young discovered her passion for growing, cooking, foraging and preserving fresh food when she moved to Bloomington in 2007. With a background in construction, architecture, nutrition education and writing, she brings curiosity and a love of storytelling to a show about all things edible. Kayte raises bees, a small family and a yard full of food in Bloomington’s McDoel Gardens neighborhood.

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