Mershon's Cider

Mershon’s Cider is proposing a plan to turn the former Cinema Cafe into a cidery. A public hearing is set for Sept. 14 at the Plan Commission meeting.

One day, patrons might be able to sip fresh ciders and wine while watching a movie, if a plan for the former Cinema Cafe comes to fruition.

Joseph Baird, owner of Mershon’s Cider, is hoping to relocate his business to 124 W. Main St. from a much smaller location in the business park.

There is expected to be a public hearing for the proposal as well as a hearing to consider changing the zoning code to allow alcoholic beverage production at the next Plan Commission meeting 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14.

The Cinema Cafe closed in May after three decades as a local movie theater in Stoughton. The owners had been trying to sell the building for two years prior to the shutdown, and the pause of the cinema industry due to COVID-19 helped further their decision, they told the Hub in June.

Since new cidery signs were installed on Interstate 90 in February 2019, directing people to Mershon’s, the cidery has seen an increase in patrons traveling from Chicago and Madison, Baird said.

“We may as well bring them to downtown instead of the back of the business park,” he said.

It is possible that Baird could be the new owner of the Main Street building by the end of September.

Baird said the business would be growing into a space more than 10 times the size of the current location, expanding the tasting room from 1,000 square feet to potentially 5,000 square feet.

He said the 15,000 square foot basement in the former cinema has an ambient temperature of 55 degrees and would be perfect for aging the locally made wines and ciders.

On the first floor, he hopes to have a tasting room, glass walls to watch wine and cider fermentation and add a single theater in the future.

Baird opened Mershon’s Cider in 2014 because he loved cider but had trouble finding beverages made locally in Wisconsin.

“Wine not make a local cider with all the apples we grow around here?” he said with a laugh.

The cidery is also producing wine made with grapes from Mitchell Vineyard in Oregon. The vineyard has eight acres of vines, where winemakers can pick their own grapes, Baird said.

In the future, Baird said he would like to serve pizza and feature a gourmet food menu, but making fresh local cider is his first priority.

Contact Mackenzie Krumme at mackenzie.krumme@wcinet.com.