Hard Cider Newsletter



Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition Results

The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association announced the results of the 8th Annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) held on March 24th in Grand Rapids, Michigan. With nineteen different entry categories, GLINTCAP is open to all types of fermented products made with apples or pears, as well as both commercial (those who lawfully sell their products) and non-commercial producers (home hobbyist and establishments that are not licensed to sell fermented products).

This year, the competition drew 421 entries from across the United States, Canada, and Europe – a 47% increase from 2012. A remarkable increase in the number of cider producers in North America and growing interest in the competition also resulted in a 100% increase in the number of entries in the commercial division since last year. Entries came from 21 states, four Canadian provinces and several countries overseas including England, Germany, Ireland and Spain.

To highlight a few in the commercial division, Wandering Aengus Ciderworks’ Bloom Cider took home the award for “Best in Class” for Standard, Specialty, and Unlimited Cider and Perry. Meanwhile, Finnriver Farm and Cider’s Fire Barrel was “Highly Recommended” and Eden Ice Cider Company’s Windfall Orchard 2011 earned “Best in Class for Intensified Cider and Spirits.”

Below is an abbreviated list of results with the gold medal commercial winners from the 2013 Great Lakes Cider and Perry Competition. For the complete list of medalists and more information on the Great Lakes Cider and Perry Association, please visit GreatLakesCider.com.

Commercial Division Awards by Style (Gold)

New World Cider (91 entries)

2 Towns Ciderhouse

Traditions Ciderworks 2011 Riverwood Brut JonaGold Cider

2 Towns Ciderhouse


Carrick Wines & Ciders

Gravel Run Cider

Luk Cider and Spirit

LUK Rose

Snowdrift Cider

Cliffbreaks Blend

Tandem Ciders

Pretty Penny 2011

Wandering Aengus Ciderworks

Anthem Cider

Wandering Aengus Ciderworks

Bloom Cider



Other Specialty Cider & Perry (54 entries)

Finnriver Farm & Cidery

Fire Barrel



English Cider (32 entries)

Montana Ciderworks

North Fork Traditional

Oliver’s Cider & Perry

Gold Rush



Fruit Cider (19 entries)

Uncle John’s

Apricot Apple



Intensified Preferment (Ice Cider) (19 entries)

Eden Ice Cider Company

Newhall Farm 2011

Eden Ice Cider Company

Windfall Orchard 2011

Les Vergers de la Colline

Le Glace



Unlimited Cider & Perry (17 entries)

Vermont Hard Cider Company

Woodchuck Hard Cider Amber



Spanish Cider (14 entries)

Asturiana de Vinos

Escalada Sidra Natural

Sidra Viuda de Angelón

Sidra Brut Viuda De Angelón



Intensified Postferment (Pommeau) (7 entries)

Finnriver Farm & Cidery

Spirited Apple Wine

Uncle John’s

Apple Dessert Wine



New England Cider (5 entries)

Snowdrift Cider




Applewine (5 entries)

McClure’s Orchard & Winery

Sweet Apple Wine



Open Category Mead Made with Apple or Pear (1 entry)

Robinette Cellars



Schilling Cider Releases New Line of Ciders

Shilling… the family name typically associated with spices after August Schilling founded the Schilling Spice Company in San Francisco back in 1881, is now carrying the tradition of quality and excellence that the Schilling name is known for onto Schilling Cider. The Seattle-based cider company, is pleased to announce the release of its new line of craft hard ciders to the Oregon and Washington markets with other western states to follow throughout the year.

“We are continuing the traditions that my family started several generations ago: an honest, quality product at an accessible price,” said Colin Schilling, Brewer and Founder and great-great-grandson of August Schilling, the founder of Schilling Spice Company (now McCormick). “Many folks believe that apples are the absolute end-all of great cider. I believe apples are the foundation, but cider can be elevated by fine tuning yeast selections, temperature, conditioning and adjuncts. This company was founded to create ciders with complexity.”

With this focused approach to yeast selection and the fermentation process, Schilling and co-founder Mark Kornei will be offering four premium varieties, made from Washington apples:

  • The Hard Cider (original) – a semi-dry cider with a floral and citrus finish (6.5% ABV)

  • Barrel Conditioned Cider – aged on American oak offering a mellow flavor profile that is best served above 45-degrees

  • Ginger Cider – fermented with a strong kick of California ginger that provides a sweet, refreshing smooth finish (6.9% ABV)

  • Dry Hopped Cider (DHC) – developed for IPA beer lovers of the world using Northwest-grown whole leaf  Warrior and Citra hops (6.9% ABV)

In addition to the four main varieties, Schilling also produces a Chai Cider and a Chocolate Nitro Cider along with seasonal flavors that include Pumpkin Spice, Scotch and Fresh Hopped.

“Colin and I both believe that constant innovation is the key to a great product and happy customers,” said Kornei. “We want to make sure that we’re taking advantage of the freshest and highest quality seasonal ingredients throughout the year as well as creating recipes that are a little off-the-beaten-path.”

Using a clean, simple design, reminiscent of the original red spice tins of the 1920’s and 30’s, Schilling Cider will be offered in cans to provide a better protected product, have lower impact on environment, and added convenience. Cans have the highest recycling rate and the same aluminum is often back on the shelf as a new can within 60 days. The can also offers a variety of ways to distribute the cider, including a “topless” lid, which will be ideal for stadium settings.

Schilling Cider will be offered in four-packs of 12-ounce cans at retail and on-site locations and will also be available on draught at select restaurants and bars throughout Oregon and Washington. For more information about Schilling Cider, visit them online at SchillingCider.com.


Woodchuck Hard Cider Celebrates Earth Week

Over the last three years, Woodchuck Hard Cider has planted more than 34,000 trees in areas devastated by natural disaster across the country, and this month the company set-out to plant more. Woodchuck partnered with the American Forests Global ReLeaf program and committed to plant one tree for every new Facebook ‘Like’ or e-newsletter sign-up received between April 17th and April 23rd for Earth Week.

American Forests is a non-profit conservation organization focused on restoring and protecting urban and rural forests. Their Global ReLeaf program has completed restoration work in all 50 US states and countries throughout the world, helping to plan more than 43 million trees in areas of crucial need. This year, the non-profit will manage 25 reforest projects throughout 14 states and five countries in areas damaged by wildfire, pests, disease, deforestation, natural disasters and more.

In addition, Woodchuck also committed to give one dollar per ‘Like’ and e-newsletter sign-up to the Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association. The association works to aid and assist Vermont’s apple growers. Currently, the association’s efforts are focused on helping growers diversify their crop to include more apples for cider production.

“Environmental stewardship and supporting the local agriculture economy are two missions we believe in,” said Woodchuck President and CEO Bret Williams. “Our Earth Week Campaign advanced both of those priorities.”

Woodchuck also added a solar orchard to their power portfolio during Earth Week. The company announced they are now harvesting the sun through a solar orchard in nearby Bridport, Vermont. The solar project will produce approximately 210,00 kWh of electricity per year for the Woodchuck cidery, and cover approximately 10%-15% of the company’s current electric demand.

“Sustainability efforts like this are at the core of our mission,” said Williams. “To be able to tap into local renewable energy is good for our business, the local economy and the planet.”

The 1.5 acre solar orchard consists of 26 pole-mounted dual-axis AllSun Trackers, which uses GPS and wireless technology to follow the sun throughout the day. The solar trackers are manufactured locally in Vermont by AllEarth Renewables. According to AllEarth Renewables, the tracker system boosts the panel’s energy production by up to 45-percent over roof-top installations.

“We’re excited to be working with Vermont Hard Cider Company on this project, a company that understands they can make both a financially sound decision and a sustainable decision as they produce their great product,” said David Blittersdorf, CEO of AllEarth Renewables.

Woodchuck also purchases 25% of its power through Green Mountain Power’s “Cow Power” program, which converts cow manure to electricity. Combined with the new solar project, around 40% of Woodchuck’s power use is now renewable.

For more information about the Vermont Hard Cider Company’ Woodchuck Hard Cider and the company’s Earth Week projects, please visit their website VTHardCider.com or their blog Woodchuck.com.


Angry Orchard Launches Cider House Collection Nationwide

The cider makers at Angry Orchard have been crafting their new project – The Cider House Collection -and just put final touches on a new batch of specialty ciders that they are releasing nationally. Angry Orchard Iceman and Angry Orchard Strawman are the result of experimentation with apple varieties, wood-aging techniques and fermentation methods.

“With Angry Orchard Iceman and Strawman, we put our own spin on ancient cider styles, using cider techniques that we’ve developed over the past 15 years. To come up with these recipes, we’ve been tinkering with apple blends and fermentation methods,” said David Sipes, cider maker for Angry Orchard. “Over the past year, there’s been a renewed interest in hard cider in the US and drinkers are exploring ciders like never before. With the Cider House Collection, our drinkers can experience our interpretation of these largely unknown cider styles.”

Angry Orchard Iceman is inspired by traditional Quebec ice ciders. With an ABV of 10%, the cider features flavors of crisp apples with notes of caramel and toffee for a cider that’s sweet and slightly effervescent to enhance aroma. The wood-aging process imparts notes of vanilla for a smooth finish. Iceman is made by freezing apple juice prior to fermentation, resulting in concentrated sugars and deeper, richer flavors. This well-balanced cider pairs perfectly with delicate flavors like those found in foie gras and cured meats, while its smooth vanilla character compliments creamy, sweet French cheeses like Mimolette or a double cream Camembert. Iceman’s warm taste, with vanilla and honey characteristics, is similar to a Sauternes or Muscat wine.
Meanwhile, Angry Orchard Strawman is a farmhouse cider with ripe apple, vanilla and honeysuckle flavors that impart an earthy character complemented by a distinct aroma of ripe apples, wood, dark fruits and sweet citrus. Strawman’s earthy characteristics and 10% ABV help cut through the fats and proteins of farmhouse cheeses like cheddar, and also pair well with seafood dishes, like salmon and tuna, with its dark fruit, wood and citrus notes. Strawman is aged on wood with toasted qualities to add to the traditional earthy farmhouse flavors of the cider and with notes of vanilla to help balance this cider’s funky characteristics. Its complex, earthy, slightly herbal taste is akin to that of a dry, southern hemisphere Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Riesling.

“The Cider House Collection ciders showcase complex, wine-like flavors and can be enjoyed alone or with food,” Sipes explains. “These ciders have distinct aromas and flavors, so serving them in a glass shaped like a goblet or bowl, similar to wine, allows drinkers to have the full sensory experience. Similar to a white wine, these ciders should be served cool, but not cold, around a temperature range of 45-52 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Both of these Angry Orchard ciders have already received applause and are expected to do well in the market. At the 8th Annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, Iceman received a bronze medal in the “Intensified Preferment (Ice Cider)” category and Strawman received a silver medal in the “English Cider” category.

Angry Orchard Iceman and Strawman are complex, wood-aged and made with heirloom apples from Italy, where the terroir significantly influences the flavor of apple varietals, and France, where apples unique to cider making have been cultivated for centuries. The ciders each have unique effervescent qualities and are served in individual 750ml corked bottles. Their higher alcohol content, warm flavors and body, complement a variety of foods and are perfect for special drinking occasions or for sharing with a friend over dinner. Although The Cider House Collection will be available nationwide, these ciders will not be available in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The suggested retail price of these ciders is $14.99 per bottle (varying by market). To find where Angry Orchard hard cider is served near you, visit AngryOrchard.com.


Pommies Dry Cider, The New Johnny Appleseed?

This month, Pommies Dry Cider in Ontario, Canada, gave away apple trees to customers at select locations throughout the province who purchased three, four packs of Pommies Dry Cider. The giveaway highlighted the fact that Pommies is made from 100% juice from Ontario and encouraged the growth of apple trees in the area.

"The next best thing to grabbing a cold Pommies from your fridge is picking an apple off your own apple tree," said Nick Sutcliffe, owner of Southern Cliff Brands. "Lots of companies give away stuff, usually plastic, but we wanted to make sure that we offered consumers something that benefits them for years to come."  The Gala apple trees, whose height will not exceed 8-feet when fully grown, were about 3-feet tall when given away. Consumers also received detailed planting and growing instructions with each tree so each person could leave worry-free about maintenance with their tree.

Pommies Dry Cider is made entirely from apples grown in Ontario and features no added flavors or colorings. The gluten free cider comes in at 5-percent alcohol by volume and is sold in unique 355-mililiter bottles in 4-packs for $12.95. For more information on Pommies Dry Cider visit their website at www.pommiesdry.com.


Craft Brew Alliance Launches Cider Company

As the cider industry keeps growing and companies fight for tap handles in bars, we continue to see big organizations invest in cider – C&C Group (maker of Magners and Hornsby) acquired Vermont Hard Cider Company (maker of Woodchuck Cider), MillerCoors purchased Crispin Cider, and Boston Beer rolled out Angry Orchard. To add to this list, the Craft Brew Alliance (CBA), which already markets Kona Brewing, Redhook Brewery, Omission, and Widmer Brothers Brewing, announced the launch of Square Mile Cider Company. The cider brand will feature two products, The Original and Spur & Vine, which will be test-marketed beginning May 6th in Oregon, Washington, and California in 22-ounce bottle for $6.99 and draught.

Andy Thomas, the CBA’s president, stated, “I know I sound like a broken record, but occasion-based segmentation and thinking leads you to understand that today’s consumers drink across beer, wine and spirits categories.” Thomas continued, “Beverages that help them span that bridge, like cider, help keep us from losing occasions.”

Square Mile Cider Company is based in Portland, OR, and is inspired by the fortitude and perseverance of the early American settlers who set out on the Oregon Trail in search of a better tomorrow. These pioneers left their old lives behind and chose a new path, relying on hope, pride, and determination. This same pioneer spirit is at the heart of Square Mile Cider Company. The company gets its name from the early 1850s when settlers arrived in Oregon and were granted one square mile of land where they could stake their claims and pursue their dreams. 

“We are so lucky to be living in a place of such unbelievable bounty,” said Lorin Gelfand, brand manager of Square Mile Cider Company. “The early Oregon pioneers planted orchards that have been passed down through generations and are still producing fruit today. They inspired us to bring back this classic American beverage that we’re proud to share.”

The Original is a classic American hard cider that is made with handpicked and pressed Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, and Johnny Gold apples from Oregon.  While the Spur & Vine is a Northwest version of the classic American hard cider created with the addition of Galaxy hops during cold conditioning  - resulting in a cider that takes on flavors and aromas of peach, melon, and honeysuckle without the bitterness of hops. The use of traditional apple varieties in combination with lager beer yeasts makes very unique, easy drinking hard ciders that are both gluten free and with a 6.7-percent ABV.

For more information on Square Mile Cider Company, please visit the company website at SquareMileCider.com. For more information on the Craft Brew Alliance, please visit CraftBrew.com.



Eat This…

Drink That…

Hard Cider Cinnamon Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche
From Sensual Appeal

Irish Snakebite
From Julip Made

Credit: Kammie Gornia of Sensual Appeal

Credit: Julie of Julip Made