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Cider Making in McLean County

In the classified ads on August 11, 1915 I noticed that WH Foster and WC Martins were advertising the service of cider making. They had hydraulic presses for making the cider from the customer's apples. Many people who live in older homes still have apple trees in their back yards, which are remnants of old orchards or family gardens. As part of the self sufficient way of living in 1915 some people would make cider from their own apples, or from apples they picked at an orchard.

One local farmer was noted to have 400 bushels of apples. He purchased 32 whiskey kegs to store his cider! Cider sold for about 20 or 25 cents a gallon in the store and was apparently a favorite drink while McLean County was dry. I wonder how many times the cider "accidentally" fermented.

One court report in 1915 alleged that an unnamed man was accused of selling "spiked" cider that had an alcohol content of 10% when tested at the Wesleyan lab. The reporter observed that cider turning to vinegar would only have an alcohol content of 1 1/2 %.

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