Cider News Roundup…It’s Spring!
Hope springs eternal! The resurgence of the cider category (and news thereof….) means we are all hoping that cider is going to be a fact of American imbibing.
The charming Chris Lehault (I just met him last month at famed beer geek mecca, NYC’s Blind Tiger) of Serious Eats/Serious Drinks/The Cider Press, shines a spotlight on our colleague Diane Flynt from Foggy Ridge Cider in Dugspur, Virginia. One of Diane’s final points relates to the cider market overall, and we’re very interested in how cider changes over the next decade. Here’s what Diane thinks:
I hope cidermakers stay true to making good quality cider from cider apples—I would hate to see new cidermakers take the “industrial cider” approach with chaptalized juice and watered down cider. Over half of what is available on grocery store shelves as “cider” really isn’t cider at all—it is to cider as a wine cooler is to wine. My hope is that the cidermakers who are planting trees and making cider today will continue the tradition of crafting cider from well chosen apples.
Please check out the full interview, with many of our cider friends mentioned, featured, or photographed!
Closer to home, Vermont-based Champlain Orchards announced two collaborations on their website:
In keeping with our commitment to develop new value added products, Champlain Orchards is utilizing onsite state-of-the-art fermentation tanks to create unique blends of hard cider and ice cider. Pictured above is our first foray into the world of dessert wines – our Honeycrisp Ice Cider. We are working in collaboration with the Eden Ice Cider Company (www.edenicecider.com) to develop our ice ciders, and we will soon be offering a multitude of varietals.
We’re also pursuing a more traditional cider-based alcoholic beverage. Working with Poverty Lane Orchards and Farnum Hill Cider, we are learning exactly which are the best apple varieties to grow for producing world-class hard ciders. Varieties like Kingston Black, Dabinette and Harry Master’s Jersey are not necessarily household names, but they have been used in traditional English and French hard ciders for centuries. We envision customers (21 and older, of course!) stopping by and filling up a growler with their choice of flavor. Local hard cider always tastes better!
And then, from the left coast, some encouraging news about their growing cider industry. This article from The Seattle Times, was recently updated and reprinted in the travel section of The Wisconsin State Journal. Writer Tan Vinh comments on the state of Washington cider:
…Hard cider has become big in this apple state, and it’s getting the tourism treatment like breweries and wineries. Tasting rooms are popping up. Cider-pairing dinners, too: In November, Dahlia Lounge and Ivar’s both held hard-cider pairing events that sold out. The Herbfarm in Woodinville held a $125 cider-pairing feast last summer.
Hard cider has earned its own tasting area at the city’s biggest food and wine event, Taste of Washington, and at the summer’s biggest beer event, the Washington Brewers Festival.
And last fall, at the inaugural Cider Summit N.W., dozens of cider makers from as far away as California and British Columbia came to South Lake Union to showcase ciders in all their glory — English and French style, dry to sweet, bubbly and dessert cider.
It’s so popular now that foodies and drink fans are driving directly to the cider houses to sample the offerings and check out the operations — all mom-and-pop affairs, spread across the state, mostly in farming communities.
Orchardists across the country are becoming re-interested in cider apples; as consumers seek fresh, delicious local drinks, real cider will find its spot back on the American table. Spring into some cider!