There are a few things that Charlie Davis and Katie Morgan are particularly passionate about: making cider, saving the world’s declining bee populations, and the band Wilco (not necessarily in that order). The husband-and-wife duo first started dating when Davis, who was already an avid beer brewer, brought Morgan a homemade batch of hard apple cider for her birthday. Six months after their wedding in 2014, they opened Right Bee Cider, Chicago's first cidery, with a full apiary on their rooftop.
“We wanted to create a cider using honey from our own urban beehives,” Morgan says. The pair decided that a portion of the proceeds should go to The Hive, a company that supplies local beekeepers in order to help Chicago’s pollinators thrive. “They do a lot of the local community and the local environment. We thought it was a great way to give back to our community.”
Being die-hard Wilco fans, Davis and Morgan immediately thought of naming the limited-release “Muzzle of Bees,” from the 2004 album A Ghost Is Born, as reported by The Chicago Tribune. They sent an email to the band requesting permission to use the title. Since Wilco is currently touring, they weren’t sure if they would even get a reply.
We're just so thrilled that they cared about our project. We're a tiny local Chicago business and this means a lot to us.”
“We thought, hey, why not? We’re from Chicago, they’re from Chicago, and we always figured they were super down-to-earth people,” Morgan says. “We never expected this nice of a response though. Not only did they say yes, but they offered to Brigid Pearson, who is this amazing designer on their team, create the label for us.”
Pearson’s design shows a swarm of honeybees buzzing around the Chicago skyline and features the Wilco seal of approval. Starting at noon on Saturday, October 12, Davis and Morgan will throw a special release party at their taproom so customers can try the semi-dry cider perfumed with elderflower and a touch of their local honey. Muzzle of Bees will remain a taproom exclusive for the time being, although they may distribute throughout Chicago depending on demand.
“We're just so thrilled that they cared about our project. We're a tiny local Chicago business and this means a lot to us,” Morgan says. “We do have some cider set aside for the band when they’re back in town—just in case!”