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It was a cloudy evening in Arizona on th

About Night Owl


John Pagano


The Full Story

I’m a middle school science teacher that runs the Design and Engineering Center at my school. I get to teach kids about design thinking by using laser cutters, 3D printers, welders, saws, and lots of other cool tools. I spend most of my time making terrible dad-jokes and 80’s pop-culture references, while helping middle-schoolers learn that “Failure is FUN(damental)” when it comes to learning. I am a maker at heart and I enjoy building things myself; from robots to houses and everything in between. I believe in the scientific method. I’m loud and outgoing, with a special sense of style that includes a carefully curated collection of patterned button down shirts. I love my life as a wild tattooed teacher, but it wasn’t always this way. 

For years I had a successful and grueling career in corporate america. One day, my amazing adventure partner, Koreen, told me that she hated to see me so miserable all the time, and we put a plan together so I could go back to school and finish my college degree. I sucked it up after so many years and went back to school at night, while still working full time and taking care of our seven kids during the day. With a lot of support from Koreen and even more late nights, I got my bachelors in education and almost immediately enrolled in a masters program at WGU. 

It was about the same time that I started making cider. I started with small batches yielding a few bottles for my family to try. Then I bumped up to larger tanks and started pressing my own apples instead of buying pre-made juice. We’ve already received multiple awards for our unique cider and mead blends. Cider-making gives me the ability to apply my love of science and experimentation to a truly creative process. Plus it’s freaking delicious. It got to the point that I was staying up late to either work on my degree or make cider. I began to understand why the mascot of WGU is the night owl, because that’s what I had become. It seemed only fitting to name our ciderworks after a truly life-changing time in my life.

No one knows what the future of Night Owl Ciderworks will be. I love to put my unique spin on my creations, using the unique fruits available to us in Southern California and beyond. We just purchased 10 acres we are lovingly calling “Night Owl Ranch” with plans to plant an orchard. Whatever it is, I am sure it will be amazing with Koreen by my side. 

The night belongs to the owls. 

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