Bantam Cider is living up to the meaning of its name–small and mighty–with the opening of its new tap room just outside Union Square a mere two years after the company was founded. The women behind Bantam, Dana Masterpolo and Michelle da Silva, started Bantam after tiring of their day jobs and had been working out of temporary spaces until finding a permanent home late last year.
“We were like gypsies,” da Silva said of their three-hour treks to Western Massachusetts to produce their cider. “We wanted to find a really great space and it proved to be a real challenge until we found this place.”
After searching all over Boston, Cambridge and Somerville, Masterpolo and da Silva found Bantam Cider’s new home at 40 Merriam St. The location feels delightfully serendipitous as the first house da Silva ever lived in is right across the street.
“We instantly fell in love,” da Silva said of their open tap room that boasts plentiful skylights, room to experiment with their ciders and space to invite the community in to taste them.
da Silva was always interested in making things like cheese and cooking and grew up making wine with her grandparents. She said the transition to producing cider was quite natural as it uses the same process as wine-making.
She and Masterpolo use different strains of yeast and different apples, which they source from small growers in Central and Western Massachusetts. They are always taste testing to discover what flavors people like best. Bantam’s new tap room will give them the freedom to do even more of that.
“Capacity is always an issue at places,” da Silva said of struggles they faced before opening the tap room. Now Bantam can “make smaller batch stuff and get feedback.”
Bantam’s tap room officially opened to the public earlier this month with a party that sold out two weeks in advance.
“The opening was amazing. It was a lot of fun,” da Silva said. She and Masterpolo are looking forward to welcoming more people into their new space during Bantam’s open tap room hours.
“We’re definitely excited for the summer,” da Silva said. She added that while the ciders are great all year, they are are particularly drinkable during the warmer weather months. And those on a gluten-free diet will be pleased to know that they can sip Bantam’s products without worry.
“Cider is so new, people are excited about it,” da Silva said.
40 Merriam St.
Thursdays and Fridays 4 p.m.-7 p.m.
Saturdays 1 p.m.-7 p.m.
$10 for a glass and a pour or $10 for a glass and five samples