By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Oct 27, 2020 at 1:36 PM

In February, Door County’s Island Orchard Cider announced it would open Pomona Cider Co. on Milwaukee’s East Side at 2163 N. Farwell Ave.

The company said it had plans to renovate the 2,100-square-foot building into a tasting room that would also serve a limited array of craft beer and wine and would use a wood-fired oven to make appetizers, including flatbreads. All of the cider on draft in the tasting room would be made on-site.

As you might expect in this pandemic year, Pomona has not yet opened. But co-owner Tom Gabert – who is opening the place with Yannique and Bob Purman, who own Island Orchard – says the plan is still moving ahead.

“The cidery is still a go, however, COVID did sidetrack us greatly,” he tells me. “With both of us already having companies, we all went into safety mode to ensure that they would withstand the current circumstances. As we are nearing the end of 2020 Pomona is still on the table and meetings have happened over the last few weeks with efforts of once again moving forward with everything.”

Gabert, who has served as an Island Orchard sales rep and owns Pour Inc. professional bartending service, says the goal now is to open at some time in 2021.

“With so many uncertainties in today's world, we are treading lightly and cautiously,” says Gabert. “One concern of ours from the beginning was getting people excited for the cidery and then have it be pushed back and people lose interest.

“Obviously, this situation wasn't entirely in our control but now we are once again trying to avoid the ‘excitement to the let-down’ scenario. We want to make sure all our ducks are in a row before we go public again with where we stand on opening and what not.”

While Milwaukee may have to wait a bit longer for its cider fix on the East Side, it’s encouraging to hear that Pomona Cider Co. in still on tap for the neighborhood.

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.