Entrepreneur turns love of hard cider into new business
By John Hamilton
At his home on West Truesdell Street in Wilmington, Jason Vaughan has been crafting and perfecting his homemade hard ciders — which he hopes to share with the public.
A part of the inspiration for brewing came from his family — in particular, from his grandma, Dorothy “Dot” Brown, and his father, George.
“I remember my grandma would have me picking grapes from a local vineyard, which would be used to make wine,” Vaughan said. “My father was a homebrewer and I remember helping him and learning a little bit from helping him. For me, I just started being a homebrewer, and I’ve always had a passion for doing things on my own.”
Vaughan, who is a nurse full time, had always liked craft beers, and his wife, Michelle, was into wine. But he didn’t find that niche until he tried ciders and realized that he enjoyed them. When he starting learning about the process, he also started the process for TinCap — his name for the business — to become a licensed winery, because cider is technically a wine, he said.
“Cider, even though it’s drunk and sold like a beer, it falls under the wine category, at least in the U.S.,” according to Vaughan.
The process is like making wine instead of beer, he said, with cider taking the crushed juice from the apples, which are used to firm it.
”Beers are around 98 to 99 percent water, so we use pretty much no water, it’s just natural apple juice,” Vaughan said.
The apples for Vaughan’s cider come from local orchards.
He said that the “curiosity of being self-sufficient” was a motivation for him.
“I had obstacles to face, just like with any kind of beer or whatever. I wouldn’t call them failures. There’s a flavor out there for everyone,” he said.
Vaughan described cider making as a learning experience and described it as the wild west of the alcohol industry.
“There are so many things you can do with it,” he said.
Some of the flavors he has worked on include blackberry, ginger, sweet apple and vanilla pecan. He’s had the opportunity to share his creations with friends and family during parties, and even at his own wedding, but he hopes to sell the ciders soon.
“We’re a licensed winery, but there’s a lot of process to going into that,” he said. “We’re still getting our last labeling process. We’ll be selling, kegging and distributing it here at home.”
Though TinCap was approved by the city of Wilmington’s Building and Zoning Department to be considered a winery, it won’t be open for a few more months — but Vaughan is looking forward to a tasty future of TinCap.