Saturday, April 11, 2020

2020 Update


A lot has changed since my last update.

To avoid getting into a "long story" situation, I will just say that I hit pause on the cidery when I moved my family to Wyoming for almost a year. It was an attempt to give full-time oilfield work a serious look while not having to be so far away from home. In the end, we decided that oilfield work was not a good fit for our family, and we moved back to Montana last summer.

I spent part of the 2019 fall working at a wonderful apple orchard on the shores of Flathead Lake.

Apple trees at Moss Farm with a view of Flathead Lake

Rows of Honeycrisp apple trees

Honeycrisp apples picked into bins

Beautiful and delicious Ruby Mac apples
It was a great opportunity to learn about growing and harvesting apples from professionals, and I am grateful to the farm owners for having me up there. Some of the Honeyscrisp apples we picked were pressed into fresh juice, and I purchased roughly 120 gallons of surplus juice to freeze for an initial attempt at making ice cider.

Loading the tote of Honeycrisp juice in the fall
The frozen juice sat outside near Ramsay, MT going through some thawing and freezing until the weather was warm enough to begin thawing off the concentrated juice.
Frozen juice early January waiting to be thawed

Thawing concentrated juice in early February
We ended up with roughly 23 gallons of "ice cider juice" which I separated into four batches of test ice cider batches. Some of the lower-sugar juice was blended with concentrated Macintosh apple juice to go into some imperial cider batches.

Initial yeast pitch in test batches
The juice from our final thaw was only slightly sweeter than regular apple juice, and that was made into what I'm calling "Soft Cider" after the French Cidre Doux. It is bottled and aging, and I am excited to get it into the hands of friends and family for feedback.

First bottling: Cider inspired by the French "Cidre Doux"

Additionally, I have begun construction on a winery/cidery in a space on our property. The project has been on hold during the colder weather, but stay tuned for an update as things pick up this spring.

If anyone out there has any questions, please contact me at

Thanks, and have a great day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Butte Temperature Update

Greetings from the oil fields of Wyoming!

I am currently working nights on another oil well, and I thought this would be a fine time to give you an update on the cidery plans.

I am still in R&D mode, but I have a working copy of the master checklist. I also finished my spreadsheet recording the weather history in Butte over the past two winters (at least at the airport weather station).

You can find a link to it here.

I think Butte's temperatures will be promising for freezing large quantities of fresh apple juice for ice cider, as long as I can keep it in the shade. Hopefully having a few days where the temperature gets above freezing will not be too detrimental as long as the longterm average temperature is below freezing. It looks like mid to late November is the best time to begin freezing juice, so I will have to do some more leg work regarding juice availability and timing.

I will try to update again soon, and I hope you and yours are doing great.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

First Post - Copyright Established!


My name is Jacob Floch, and it is my dream to start a cidery in my city of residence, Butte, America.

I have started this webzone as an initial usage of my company name St. Charles Cider (a cidermaker once told me that copyright is established through usage), and as a way to begin sharing to whomever is out there about how things are going with my progress.

Currently, I am trying to fit in research for the new cidery while taking care of my family. My "real" job is working as a geological consultant in the oilfields of Wyoming, and while that provides some nice start-up capital for the cidery and allows for some downtime for research and development, it also involves a lot of travel and leaving my family at home. Hopefully I can balance everything well and, in a couple of years, it will all have been worth it.

Over the past two apple seasons, I have made some home batches of mostly run-of-the-mill homemade cider in a basement, so I have a basic understanding of fermentation and bottling, but I still have a lot to learn. It is my goal to provide weekly updates here to inform new customers/guests about how my journey is proceeding and what the next dragon is to slay on the quest for having St. Charles Ice Cider or St. Charles Light Cider (or maybe both).

My first goal might be to ask my wife about an initial logo for use on social media. Lately she has been spending all of her free time drawing up floor plans for a remodel of the house we just bought, so we will see how trying to fit in some time for graphic/logo design goes.

Additionally, to help myself stay focused, I need to generate a master checklist with everything that I think I need to do in order to get this endeavor off the ground with some deadlines/statuses attached.

Also on the To-Do List:
  • Research commercial properties in Butte
  • Begin a test batch of ice cider
  • Research equipment needs and suppliers
  • Look into Branding and Logo drafts
  • Research Montana State health code and legal requirements for the cidery
  • Be a good husband and father (provide for family while fulfilling cidery dream)
  • Build relationship with clientele, even if it doesn't exist yet
Anyway, please contact me at if you have any comments, and you can follow me on Twitter at @StCharlesCider and on Instagram at saintcharlescider. 

Thanks, and God bless!

Jacob Floch