Hard Cider Newsletter


Noble Cider to Boost Production 1000%

North Carolina hard cider company, Noble Cider, has made upgrades to their production facility near Asheville, NC that will allow the company to grow from a 2,000 gallon capacity to a 20,000 gallon (645.16 barrel) capacity. Five, new 1,100 gallon stainless steel fermentation and storage tanks were installed at the Noble cidery on October 20th.

“It’s been an amazing first year,” said Co-Owner and Head Cider Maker, Trevor Baker. “We’ve worked hard and we’re ready to move to the next level of production. With the upgrade, Noble can now expand our product flavor varieties and move into canning and bottling next year.”

The company’s expansion is supported in part by a $15,893 grant through the North Carolina Value-Added Cost Share (NCVACS) program, coordinated in part by the Plants for Human Health Institute’s Extension component. The NCVACS announced $311,938 in equipment cost share awards for 20 agricultural operations across the state.

The upgrade in capacity, paired with strong partnerships within Western North Carolina’s (WNC) apple grower industry, have both fueled Noble Cider onto a firm trajectory forward.

“Because of our relationships with the local apple growers, Noble Cider was able to make this huge leap forward,” said Baker. “We’re proud to produce a product deeply rooted in WNC’s apple heritage.”

Noble Cider is North Carolina’s first hard cider company that was incorporated in August 2012. The company began selling their 100% local hard cider in May of 2013. In just under four months, the WNC community consumed their inaugural 2000 gallons of hard cider. For more information about the cidery, please visit NobleCider.com.


Red Stag Launches Cider-Flavored Bourbon

Just in time for the fall season, Jim Beam Bourbon has introduced the newest expression to its world-leading bourbon portfolio: Red Stag by Jim Beam Hardcore Cider. Following the flagship brand that helped spark the flavored bourbon category – Red Stag Black Cherry – Red Stag Hardcore Cider is a “different breed of bourbon” that offers a mixable and approachable spin on America’s native spirit with natural flavors of apple cider.

“Since its history making introduction in 2009, Red Stag has helped fuel rapid growth of flavor innovation in the category,” said Chris Bauder, General Manager, Whiskies at Beam Inc. “We’re excited to extend our flavor leadership with the Red Stag line, which has seen double-digit growth every year, and are confident Red Stag Hardcore Cider is the perfect, versatile flavor addition for the fall season.”

This exciting new addition to the Red Stag by Jim Beam portfolio has also already generated substantial interest from industry experts. Beverage Media notes that the product “offers great versatility in many cocktail creations or can be enjoyed chilled, on the rocks.”

Like the other Red Stag flavors, Red Stag Hardcore Cider is an 80-proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey infused with natural flavors. The new expression features crisp fruit and subtle flavors of apple cider for just the right amount of sweet and spice that’s approachable for those who haven’t considered bourbon before or who simply want to add a little fall flavor to their glass. Whether as a shot, on the rocks or mixed in a variety of creative cocktails, Red Stag Hardcore Cider is the perfect way to get into the fall and holiday spirit.

Red Stag Hardcore Cider is now available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $17.99 for a 750mL bottle. For more information on Red Stag Hardcore Cider, please visit JimBeam.com/red-stag, “like” Jim Beam on Facebook or follow @JimBeamOfficial.


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Signs Bill for Farm Cidery License

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the Farm Cideries bill on October 17th that established a new license for farm cideries similar to the licenses already available to farm wineries, breweries and distilleries. This legislation follows through on promises made to farm cideries after the NYS Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit. The signing also coincided with the beginning of CiderWeek NYC & Hudson Valley, featuring nine days of events throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley region, aimed at promoting New York’s ciders.

“New York’s agricultural products are some of the best in the world, and we are delivering on our promise to help growing farm cideries succeed in this state,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Farm Cideries bill, coupled with events like CiderWeek NYC & Hudson Valley, promotes the sale of hard cider made from crops right here in New York and adds to the tourism experience that is fall in the Empire State. We will continue to use the TasteNY brand to help all of our agricultural entrepreneurs thrive and stay in New York.”

Senator David Valesky, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business said, “This is a great opportunity to further leverage New York State’s extraordinary agricultural assets. New York State apples are high-quality and delicious, and expanding the market through cideries is a win for everyone. I commend the Governor for recognizing the potential in this industry and making it a priority.”

The Farm Cideries bill authorizes the establishment and licensure of farm cideries for the manufacture and sale of cider made from crops grown in New York State and would exclude licensed farm cideries from the sales tax information return filing requirements. In order to obtain a farm cidery license, the hard cider must be made exclusively from apples grown in New York State and no more than 150,000 gallons may be produced annually. Farm cideries will be allowed to offer tastings of and sell not only cider, but also beer, wine and spirits made from New York products. In addition, because farm cideries may also sell products such as mustards, sauces, jams, jellies, souvenirs, artwork, crafts and other gift items, these businesses, much like farm wineries, will become destination locations that will promote tourism within their communities. Also, the need for apples in the manufacture of New York State labeled cider would create a sustained demand for products from New York’s farmers.

This law will take effect in 90 days.

Dean Norton, President of the New York Farm Bureau said, “The new Farm Cidery License is a boost for our local orchards and cider makers who are looking to diversify and offer value added products to consumers. It is an exciting time to be a New York farmer, and the New York Farm Bureau thanks Governor Cuomo for providing additional market opportunities for the state’s outstanding apple orchards.”


Doc’s Draft Hard Cider Launches Wet Hopped Hard Cider

Tour de France restaurant group is pleased to announce its eagerly awaited, exclusive champagne-style apple hard cider, custom-created by Tour de France Restaurant Group's Beer Director Gianni Cavicchi in collaboration with Jason Grizzanti, pomologist and brewmaster from Doc’s Draft Hard Ciders in Warwick, New York, located just 75 miles north of Manhattan. 

Fermented with local apples picked in prime season from Warwick Winery and Distillery and locally grown fresh Nugget hops from neighboring Pennings Orchard, the Tour de France Cider is a rare and beautiful thing as few, if any ciders are made with the addition of hops, let alone wet ones, which celebrates the current harvest and lends this exclusive cider a fresh, aromatic character, that provides a supporting role to the local apples.

“We wanted to emphasize the local and just-picked nature by fermenting a cider from New York State apples and freshly harvested hops instead of dry, which is more common,” says Cavicchi. “We’ve partnered with Jason and Jeremy Kidde (Warwick Winery’s CFO) because they are on the cutting edge of what they do, consistently making great ciders.”

Award winning Doc’s Draft Hard Ciders are renowned for their “original craft cider, orchard to glass" fermented in small batches in a hand-crafted, artisanal way.  The exclusive Tour de France Cider is available on draft for $8 at all nine Tour de France Restaurants (Café d’Alsace, French Roast Uptown and Downtown, L’Express, Maison, Marseille, Nice Matin, Le Monde and Pigalle) and sold in large format bottles for $6.99 in the Doc’s tasting room in Warwick, New York is also available for purchase online on the Doc’s website, WVWinery.com/cider.


2nd Annual Virginia Cider Week Celebrates Ciders from Across the Commonwealth

From Nov. 15-24, the 2013 Virginia Cider Week will continue the tradition of sharing delicious, locally fermented, artisanal ciders from across the Commonwealth. The second annual celebration of craft cider brings together eight Virginia cideries for a bevy of delicious tastings, workshops and other events sure to engage, entertain and educate participants.

“Virginia Cider week is an amazing opportunity to showcase this growing industry in our state,” said Cider Week Spokesperson Diane Flynt. “Similar to the wonderful wines of Virginia, fine hard cider is made from well-grown fruit and fermented with painstaking care to make a perfectly enjoyable product. Virginia Cider Week provides many opportunities to sample the best of artisanal cider, carefully crafted from 100% Virginia fruit.”

Flynt, who is the president, owner and cider maker at Foggy Ridge Cider in Dugspur, will be joined by seven other popular Virginia cideries during the week-long event. Those include Albemarle Ciderworks in North Garden, Bold Rock Cider in Nellysford, Castle Hill Cider in Free Union, Blue Bee Cider in Richmond, Potter’s Craft Cider in Free Union, Old Hill Cider in Timberville and Winchester Ciderworks in Winchester.

In 2012, Governor McDonnell made an important Virginia Cider Week Proclamation, making the state the first to have an officially proclaimed “Cider Week.” This year continues the tradition, bringing wider recognition to a historic craft that increasingly fosters economic growth and tourism for the state.

“I’m pleased to recognize the Virginia cider industry, an important and growing segment of Virginia’s rich and diversified agriculture economy.  The Commonwealth now has eight cideries, starting with Floyd County’s Foggy Ridge Cider, which opened in 2004, to Blue Bee Cider in Richmond, which started operations earlier this year as the state’s first and only urban cidery,” said Gov. McDonnell. “Cider is the fastest growing segment of the beverage industry, and pioneering Virginia cidermakers, such as Old Hill Cider in the Shenandoah Valley and Albemarle Ciderworks and others in Central Virginia, are bringing new jobs, revenue, and delicious products to our citizens and increased production opportunities for our apple growers in several regions of Virginia.”

Virginia is currently the sixth-largest apple-producing state by acreage in the country, and cider is a rich part of the state’s heritage. Cider was especially popular in 18th and 19th century Virginia, when it was enjoyed by some of our most notable residents, including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and George Washington. Cider production came to a halt with Prohibition, but today’s Virginia cider makers are reviving tradition by growing the original cider apple varieties and crafting hard cider with modern fermentation methods.

 “We are excited for people to experience real cider firsthand,” said Tim Edmond, co-owner of Potter’s Craft Cider. “Through the exciting events we have planned, guests will learn more about the cider making process, its great versatility in food pairing, its rich history and place in the culture and legacy of Virginia itself.”

The packed week will kick off with the Drink This with That Cider & Food Pairing Workshop on Friday, Nov. 15 from 5PM-7PM at the Early Mountain Vineyard in Madison; and the week will wrap up with a final event, Ciderfest, from 11AM-5PM on Saturday, Nov. 25 in Keswick. Throughout the week there will be tastings, workshops, tours and other offerings at restaurants and cideries across Virginia including:

  • The East/West Cider Smackdown from 6PM-8PM on Friday, November 22nd at Albemarle Ciderworks in North Garden, which is a blind tasting event with ciders from the East and West Coasts.

  • A Home Cidermaking Workshop from 6PM-6PM on Wednesday, November 20th at 5th Season in Charlottesville, where attendees will learn cidermaking basics from Tim Edmond of Potter’s Craft Cider & Chuck Shelton from Albemarle Ciderworks.

For the full schedule of events, tickets and additional information, visit CiderWeekVA.com.


Virtue Cider Releases New Cider in Bottles

Earlier this month, Virtue Cider was proud to release Percheron Cidre Fermier, a limited release rustic and complex French-style Farmhouse Cider. A blend of last season’s Michigan-grown Northern Spy and high acid apples, Percheron is fermented with wild yeast and aged in French oak barrels, then blended with freshly pressed apple juice from the 2013 harvest. The result is a tawny copper, brilliant cider with notes of ripe apple, the barrel, and the farm.

“I fell in love with farmhouse ciders while training in Normandy, France,” says Virtue Founder Gregory Hall. “Percheron is a tribute to those rustic, complex ciders and a true expression of the farm.”

Percheron is a worthy celebration of its namesake. For centuries, the Percheron horse has served several roles in the production of cidre fermier. Whether carrying freshly fallen apples to the barn, or driving a mill and press, this trusted grey workhorse has been a constant, inspiring presence on farms across Normandy. Today, it illustrates the strong body, gentle finish, and fresh farm aroma that comes to life in this unique cider blend.

Percheron will be offered on draft and in 750mL bottles in all markets where Virtue is currently distributed, including the company’s home state of Michigan, plus Chicago, New York City, Portland (OR), and Seattle. Bottles can also be purchase online through the Virtue Cider store or at the bottle shop at Virtue Farms in Fennville, Michigan.

With the release of Percheron, Virtue Cider will also release Sidra de Nava in bottles. Sidra de Nava is Virtue’s ode to Asturias, Spain’s famed cider producing region, where in summertime, the skies are clear and blue, the cafes full, and sidra (cider) reigns supreme. It is more tart then the dry ciders of England or funky cidres from France. The lemony nose and dry finish – bracingly tart – is a happy cross between cider, dry white wine and fresh squeezed lemonade. A portion of the cider is aged in French oak.

For more information, please visit VirtueCider.com.


Eat This…

Drink That…

Sweet Pork Chops
From Woman’s Day

Autumn Sangria with Hard Cider
From Cheese and Chocolate

Photo Credit: Con Poulos; Food Styling: Vivian Lui; Prop Styling: Marina Malchin

Photo Credit: Morgan Laskarzewski