From Ireland to Illinois: Introducing Sheehan Cider Co.

I’ve always been a cider fan.

Whether it was the kiddy kind I’d have at orchards growing up like Eckert’s (Belleville, Grafton & Millstadt, Illinois) to the hard cider I enjoy now.

Ciders come in all different kinds and flavors. At first, I’d try the fruity kinds like Angry Orchard, Redd’s and Ciderboys, which I really enjoyed. More recently, I’ve gotten into more dry ciders like Magner’s and Northman. Northman has an awesome Beer and Cider Garden on the Chicago Riverwalk that I really enjoyed. Check it out if you’re ever in the Windy City!

The Northman

Now, I’m excited to announce I am beginning to home brew my own hard cider!

Introducing: Sheehan Cider Co.

This past summer, my wife and I took a beautiful trip to Western Michigan for a babymoon. While driving up to Holland, I noticed a ton of signs along the interstate for cideries. This was foreign territory for me. I’ve lived in Illinois nearly the last 5 years, and Missouri for 22 before that.

I tried Crane’s Hard Cider at a restaurant in downtown Holland and loved it (See main photo in article).

Missouri is really attempting to be the “Napa Valley of the Midwest,” and is greatly succeeding. But Illinois? There’s plenty of orchards, but not a lot of wineries or cideries.

Check out this article by Food & Wine about Missouri’s winery growth!

This inspired me to try my own home brew. After trying Magner’s for the first time at the Peoria Irish Fest, I have been able to find it in the store at Hy-Vee and have enjoyed it from time to time with dinner. The Irish Cider also motivated me to pay homage to my Irish roots, that’s why I’m naming my cider company “Sheehan Cider Co.”

*Note* No LLC. or any official company filings have been made. This is currently an at-home hobby and I’m just enjoying the learning experience!

Magner’s Irish Cider

I was at a local restaurant recently, and I asked the waitress if they had any cider. She told me “No, but we have Sangria!” I responded, “I’ll just have a water.”

I’ve created an Instagram page, @sheehanciderco, and have been working nonstop the last few days to connect with like minded individuals in the cider and beer industry. In 20 hours, the page has gathered over 130 followers!

I’ve gotten many encouraging messages and comments cheering me on in this endeavor, and I’ve been asking everyone for advice! This is so new to me, so I’ll take any and all guidance that those in the business are gracious enough to offer.


The Sheehan family name has deep roots in Ireland, specifically County Limerick. My father and I plan to take a trip to Ireland next April to see the sights, experience our homeland, and dive into our Irish family history.

I begin the home brew process next week. Stay tuned to the process, and follow the journey on Instagram!

If you are a brewery, cidery, or winery owner and have any tips for me, please email me at or reach out to me on Instagram!


Published by mattsheehanofficial

Matt Sheehan is a journalist based in Illinois. He grew up in St. Louis and went to college at Missouri State University. He's the host of On the Record, and secures exclusive interviews with celebrities for his TV morning show.

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