Fat Ass Heifer Cidery offers award-winning ciders and a farm experience
The name is an attention-getter and so is the hard cider.
As a matter of fact, Fat Ass Heifer Cidery in Campobello is the winner of three 2020 Palmetto Wine Competition awards including best cider for The Mangy Heifer.
Founded by entrepreneur John Macomson in 2017, and opened to the public two years later, Fat Ass Heifer Cidery is part of Motlow Creek Ranch. Macomson and his family have lived on the ranch for almost 30 years but had never done any farming. When his software development company experienced hardship in 2003, Macomson began exploring backup plans.
“I started looking at things like a recreation ranch and that’s when I got into the thing with the cows,” Macomson said. “That’s when we brought in the miniature Herefords because they were different.”
It was around that time that Macomson also bought an adjoining farm that brought the size of Motlow Creek Ranch to 51 acres. Then someone at his IT company mentioned a distillery.
“My thoughts were, man, I don’t drink that much but then I started hearing a lot more about cideries,” Macomson said. “I knew a little something about apples, or I thought I did.”
After two years of research, Macomson and his wife, Denise, launched Fat Ass Heifer Cidery as a component of the ranch.
“As we’ve gotten into it, I’ve gotten so excited that I’ve set out more trees and thinned down the (number of) cows,” Macomson said. “I’m starting to realize that apples don’t get out at night and you don’t have to chase them down.”
In addition to a unique name and award-winning ciders, Fat Ass Heifer Cidery benefitted from the Spartanburg Chamber’s recent Bring Back the Burg initiative that included a listing of Black-owned businesses throughout Spartanburg County.
“That was great for us and for a lot of Black-owned businesses,” Macomson said about the chamber listing and the visitors it brought to the ranch. “As you get the opportunity, that’s your chance to win (consumers) over. Are you just a Black-owned business or do you really have a unique offering? What’s your distinguishing factor that makes people want to come back?”
Those who visit Motlow Creek Ranch and Fat Ass Heifer Cidery say it’s the cider and the farm experience that keeps them coming back, according to Macomson.
Tastings are held on the patio and adjoining garden area with picturesque views of the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains and plenty of room for social distancing. Visitors also can take a tour of the farm that is home to both Hereford and Angus cattle and more than 1,500 dwarf apple trees representing 30 varieties of cider apples. Macomson also will show you where he plans to plant another 2,000 apple trees and build a timber tasting room.
Future plans also call for adding pommeau cider and iced cider to the offerings at Fat Ass Heifer Cidery.
“One of the things when we got into this was deciding what was going to be the hook, the competitive advantage of having something that is not so common,” Macomson said. “When you want something a little stronger than traditional ciders, your options are pommeau ciders or iced ciders. Pommeau is to hard cider what a port is to a wine.”
For now, visitors can enjoy close to 10 cider varieties including Palmetto Wine Competition gold award winner The Mangy Heifer, a hard cider back sweetened with mango; and bronze winners Lowline Dirty Heifer and Sassy Black Baldie, a hard cider back sweetened with blackberry and blueberry juice.
For more information and a complete list of ciders, visit the Fat Ass Heifer Cidery website at fatassheifers.com.
Want to visit?
What: Fat Ass Heifer Cidery at Motlow Creek Ranch
Where: 10125 New Cut Road, Campobello SC 29322, (864) 478-8424
Hours: Saturday, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.