As you walk in to Great Society Cider & Mead, there is certainly a sense of community and companionship between those who love cider, those just beginning to explore it and those who just came for the delicious Brussel Sprouts. To be honest, everyone who works at the year-old bar is extremely friendly and knowledgeable of the cider craft which is evident the second you ask them what their favorite selection is on the menu. Todd Worley is a leader among not only his fellow Great Society cider-experts, but in the upcoming industry in general (it’s at least up and coming in the states). As I sat down, Todd immediately poured me a flight of four strategically planned out ciders, increasing in boldness and… “percentage,” if you know what I mean.
Todd, a Long Beach native who had just gotten out of the Navy at Desert Storm, started his career in the bar world at a young age, during a trip to visit his brother who lived on Catalina Island at the time. “I went for a weekend and came back 2 years later,” said Worley. Starting as a doorman at a local bar, Todd got the opportunity to “fill in” for a friend behind the bar at Antonio’s and earned the “guy with the heavy hand” reputation, solidifying his bartending spot until he moved back to Long Beach, where he would hold positions at Parker’s Lighthouse, Splash, Alpine Village and many others.
Beer Alien Note: I’d like to just say, during this interview, it came abundantly clear that Todd was the type of cidertender (I just made that title up) who remembered the conversations he had with his customers, causing them to come back regularly.
Taking it back to Catalina, Todd realized while working with well-known chef, Jack Tuce, that he was getting a crash course in beer and wine, giving him the knowledge needed to move forward in the industry. Since, he has helped put together many bar programs, including neighboring locals’ bar, Congregation.
Todd’s current favorite cider is a rare find called Thistly Cross, which is pleasantly aged in whiskey barrels and gives off a very strong whiskey flavor. Needless to say, I loved it. While Great Society doesn’t currently make their own cider right now, Todd mentioned owner Otto Radke took a concentrated cider production course in England and will begin making his own Great Society cider and mead within the next few years! Head on down to Great Society, one of the only cider and mead bars as far as the eye can see in Southern California, until you reach San Diego, for some of the best imports around!
GREAT SOCIETY CIDER & MEAD
601 E. Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90802