NORTH CENTER — The team behind the Fountainhead is betting big on cider.
Managing partner Aaron Zacharias announced the group's newest venture Wednesday: The former Copper House (aka, Jury's), purchased in December, will become The Northman, Chicago's first cider pub.
"The curated cider list is going to be incredible," Zacharias said in a statement.
The Northman will also offer select beers, wines and spirits, but make no mistake, cider is the main attraction — plans are to have more than 100 varieties of the beverage on tap, cask or in bottles. Fountainhead chef Cleetus Friedman will run The Northman's kitchen and is developing a menu designed to complement the ciders.
The emphasis on cider — defined as a beverage made from fermented apples of not more than 8 percent alcohol — bucks a nearly 200-year-old trend of declining interest in the beverage. Once Americans' alcoholic drink of choice, cider now accounts for less than half of one percent of the country’s alcohol consumption.
A recent mini-cider revival can be attributed to the craft beer movement, attracting players like Greg Hall, Goose Island's former brewmaster and founder of Virtue Cider.
“I think a lot has changed since 1988," Hall told the Center Square Journal in 2012. "You have a base of drinkers who are much more inquisitive than they were 10 years ago, or certainly 20 years ago.”
The former Copper House at 4337 N. Lincoln Ave. is operating as "Meantime" until spring, when it will close for renovation and reopen as The Northman.