06 Aug New Day Craft Creates the First Hard Cider and Mead Festival in Indiana
The hard cider and mead market has started carving their own sizeable niche within the alcohol industry here in Indiana. And now, for the first time, they will get an opportunity to shine outside of their beer brethren’s shadow at the inaugural Meadful Things and Outciders Festival.
Sure, hard cider and mead have had a presence at the majority of beer festivals held here in Indiana, but they are usually the oddball. New Day Craft’s co-founder and CEO Tia Agnew decided it was time to turn the tables.
“I’m going to give Michelle Aguirre, my Tasting Room Manager and Events Coordinator, the credit,” said Agnew. “We’ve always talked about it, all of us here at New Day, about how we love going to beer festivals, and it’s fun to be the odd duck there. We are always educating people about what mead and cider are, and how we do it here, and thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a festival to showcase all of the diversity that is available out there?’”
“We’ve been talking it about it off and on for over a year. Early this year, I went on a set of trade shows in Ohio, we are now distributed in Ohio, and I was talking to Michelle about how people were more familiar with mead and cider in Ohio. Michelle said it was time for us to host a mead and cider festival, and I wholeheartedly agreed.”
30-plus hard cider and mead makers will have their libations present at the festival. As you peruse the list of attendees, you will notice the majority of them are from Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, but a couple are from overseas, including Denmark, Spain, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. When Agnew said she wanted to showcase the diversity of the hard cider and mead market, she meant it.
Creating the first hard cider and mead-centric festival in Indiana wasn’t the only thing Agnew wanted to do differently:
“One of the things that we are doing, that is unusual for a lot of festivals, is we are buying all the alcohol,” Agnew said while she explained how it normally works for vendors at these kind of festivals. “As a business, we get asked to participate pro-bono or at a ‘stipend’ which doesn’t cover the cost of the cost of mead and cider kegs. We all get asked in the industry to give stuff away all it the time. While I love getting the exposure, if all I did was give product away we’d be out of business. That’s why I decided to make the commitment to my colleagues and buy the products being poured at the festival.”
While Agnew plans to purchase all the products for the event, it doesn’t mean there won’t be specialty varieties available. She told me New Day Craft will have their Imperial Breakfast Magpie available, along with others she is trying to procure.
“We are trying to get as much really niche within a niche varieties out there,” Agnew explained. “Again, being our first year we’ll see how much I can get, but yeah people are already committing to some really fun and funky stuff.”
Meadful Things and Outciders Festival is scheduled to go from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3 at the Circle City Industrial Complex (CCIC), located at 1125 Brookside Ave. in Indianapolis. It’s an interesting choice for an alcohol festival; however, the New Day Craft production facility is housed at the CCIC, so it made perfect sense to house their festival there as well.
The CCIC, Agnew explained, has renovated the south side of the complex specifically for festivals and events. They’ve even put in a parking area that can hold over 1,000 vehicles, free of charge.
FACE, the low-cost animal clinic that sits at the opposite of the CCIC, will be the donation recipient of the event. They will also be on-hand at the festival with adoptable puppies and kittens.
Tickets for the Meadful Things and Outciders Festival are currently on sale and can be purchased either online at www.tinyurl.com/meadfulthings or at New Day Craft, but will not be available at the door, as Agnew explained she wants to make sure they have enough product on site. VIP tickets—which get you into the event at 1 p.m. and first crack at the specialty hard ciders and meads—will cost you $50, while general admission is $40, and designated driver is $10.