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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Tap Handle #443: Stevens Point - Ciderboys First Press Traditional Hard Cider

Tap size:  11.5"
Rarity:  Uncommon
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

This bright and boldly colored tap is simply gorgeous, and being a hard cider I had to have it, especially since I'll be reviewing the Mad Bark variety in an upcoming post. It features a giant apple on top of a "wood" base, with small apples underneath the large one, and also at the bottom. The apples are so glossy that it was impossible to take a photo without some reflection. The front and back are identical to each other, except the way the stem tilts on the large apple, and the two sides are also the same as each other. The tap is easy to find and very affordable.

Click through to read more about Ciderboys, the historic Stevens Point Brewery, and to see more photos of this lucious tap...

Ciderboys Cider Company is a product line founded in 2012 by Stevens Point, Wisconsin brewer Stevens Point Brewery. They have produced eight varieties, which were in development for about a year before release as they played with different types of yeast and fruit pairings. All of the fruit used in the ciders comes from Washington State, and the yeast is a special hard-cider variety imported from France. No sugar is added to any of the products, which are naturally gluten free.

Stevens Point Brewery was founded in Stevens Point, Wisconsin in 1857 by George Ruder and Frank Wahle. Known back then simply as the Point Brewery, their operation continued, expanded and changed hands through the years. In 1859, Ruder left Stevens Point and moved to Wausau where he set up his own brewery. Wahle later sold the Point Brewery to Andrew and Jacob Lutz in 1867. The Lutz family ran the brewery’ until they sold it to Gustav Kuenzel in 1897. Kuenzel organized the Gustav Kuenzel Brewing Company in 1901. It was reorganized as the Stevens Point Brewing Company the following year. During Prohibition the brewery was initially idle, but Ludwig Korfman purchased a controlling interest in the company in 1924 and reorganized it as Stevens Point Beverage Company. He weathered Prohibition by producing near-beer products and soft drinks.

With most of its competition unable to survive Prohibition, Stevens Point resumed brewing and grew the business, including canning beer. By the 1970s the company was owned by Felix and Ken Shibilski. Phil Shibilski began his career at the Stevens Point Brewery in 1933, and became General Manager in 1942 and Chairman of the Board in 1974, until he passed away in 1986. In 1990, the company first began selling its product outside Wisconsin, in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota. In 1992, the Shibilskis sold the company to Chicago-based Barton Beers Ltd. The new ownership was unique for Barton in that Point beer was its only domestic product line, with all of its other offerings being imports. The company planned to tie sales to its Mexican brand, Corona, but when that brand's sales exploded, the Point brand became a distraction. Between 1994 and 2006, the brewery expanded by adding aging tanks and a 15,000 sq. ft. warehouse, as well as additional packaging and brewing equipment.

In 2002, the company was sold back to Wisconsin ownership by Milwaukee-based real estate developers Joe Martino and Jim Wiechmann. That same year, the company introduced gourmet sodas to its beverage list. In 2003, Point Special won the gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival, and that same year the company bought the Augsburger brand from Stroh Brewery Company. In 2005, the company bought four beer brands from the James Page Brewing Company. By 2008, the company's products were distributed to 18 different states. In 2011, to keep up with demand the brewery expanded with a 6,000 sq. ft warehouse and adds 8 more tanks. This increased capacity to nearly 100,000 barrels. In 2012, a $1.1 million addition included nine new fermentation tanks, two new bright beer tanks, a new 7,000-gallon hot water tank and a centrifuge for filtering finished beer. Brewing capacity was increased to 120,000 barrels of beer annually, a 20% increase.

First Press is the most traditional of the ciders brewed by Stevens Point and is brewed year-round. It's not crisp or dry, like a cider made with champagne yeast, but sweeter. The cider won a silver medal at the 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship and a gold medal at the 2014 World Beer Championships.

Ratebeer weighted average:  2.96 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  no entry

Stevens Point Brewery
2617 Water Street
Stevens Point, Wisconsin 54481

Source Material
Stevens Point website

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