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  • Bangor Daily News

    Cider house with old-time music jams opens on Route 1 near Ellsworth

    By Bill Trotter,


    A new cider house on Route 1 is offering Ellsworth-area residents its own fruit-based adult beverages and a place to enjoy them.

    Mathias Kamin and Anne Bryant opened Bon Vent Cider in Hancock in May in a former antiques shop. The duo hopes if you come in to buy cider made on site, you will linger to spend time with others and listen or play along with old-time weekly music jams in their tasting room.

    The enterprise builds upon the expansion of craft breweries that have become popular local gathering spots throughout the state in recent years. This one aims to take the sense-of-place concept further. They gather and use only apples and pears that grow in Maine, often on private properties where landowners have little use for the fruit.

    Kamin, an experienced cider maker from upstate New York who moved to Maine a half dozen years ago, said he was surprised by how few cider makers there were here. He got a job at Fogtown Brewing in Ellsworth helping them develop a cider line and fruit wines. He then worked for roughly two years at Shalom Orchards in Franklin.

    Along the way, he explored Hancock County and other parts of Maine, learning where hundreds of apple and pear trees were and introducing himself to landowners. He developed relationships with many. In exchange for sharing his time and knowledge with them, he identified which apples were good for cider. He has been permitted to harvest them for little to no money.

    “I’ve been knocking on a lot of doors in the past five years,” Kamin said. “That legwork is the price I pay.”

    Kamin, who also is a musician and carpenter, said he was considering taking a break from the beverage business. Bryant, a friend, helped to convince him not to. They decided to partner in their own cider venture.

    Bryant, a wooden boat enthusiast and videographer by training, zeroed in on finding a name. ‘Bon vent’ is French for ‘fair winds,’ and is a nod to both her love of sailing and Kamin’s high school experience in France, where he first learned about cider making.

    Both Bryan and Kamin said they are a small operation on purpose, focused mainly on making good locally produced cider rather than growing a brand. They have a strong sense of connection to coastal Hancock County and want to strengthen that bond with locally produced beverages and a place where people can gather to enjoy them.

    “The product is beautiful. People come in. They’re happy,” Bryant said. “That’s enough.”

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