Hard Cider Newsletter


California Cider Company Releases New 21st Anniversary Cider

Family owned, California Cider Company, announced the release of its latest cider in the ACE Cider brand line. The cider, ACE Black Jack 21, was crafted to celebrate the 21 years California Cider Company has been making ACE cider in Sebastopol, California.

Black Jack 21 is made of 100% local Gravenstein apples and fermented to 9% ABV before it is then aged in chardonnay oak barrels. The result is a French-style cider/cidre that just recently earned a 1st place award at the 18th Annual Great International Beer & Cider Competition held earlier this month in Providence, Rhode Island. Expect a dry cider that is very easy-drinking with notes of almost citrus and melon in the taste that is elegant and wine-like with a fresh apple aroma. Compared with other ACE Ciders, this one is more complex.

The limited release cider is available in 750mL bottles and 5-gallon kegs. Only 2,500 bottle cases were made so get the cider now if you still can for $14.99.


Award-Winning Santa Sidra, New Mexico’s Newest Hard Cider

Santa Sidra, the newest hard cider in New Mexico’s growing craft beverage scene, bought 50,000 pounds of New Mexico-grown apples this Fall to make its award-winning hard ciders. Launched in July, Santa Sidra is crafted locally in Santa Fe, New Mexico using locally-sourced apples and is available in many New Mexico liquor stores, bars and restaurants in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

After making hard cider as a hobby and receiving training in commercial cidermaking in England and Washington State, company founder and cidermaker, Mike Zercher, decided to put his experience as the former head of Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company’s international business to good use by launching his own business to support New Mexico’s apple growers. Zercher says, “Our company was founded with a social mission: to support local farmers by buying as many apples as we can from as many farmers as we can from across New Mexico. With those apples, we’re crafting the best hard cider that’s gluten free, tastes great and gives you a reason to celebrate while "cidermagically" supporting our local, family farmers and keeping money in our local communities.”

Zercher is not just bragging about making the best hard cider in New Mexico. Both of the company’s ciders won honors at the 2014 New Mexico State Fair Pro-Am Beer, Mead and Cider Competition. Santa Sidra Seca (Dry) won a Silver Medal in the traditional cider category, and Santa Sidra Ligeramente Dulce (A Tad Sweet) took home a Gold Medal in the traditional cider category as well as the Best Cider and Best of Show awards – meaning Santa Sidra beat out all the commercially-produced beer in the competition.

Seca is a dry cider in the most traditional way. It is slightly sweetened with pure cane sugar to balance the apples’ natural tartness and then lightly carbonated prior to bottling. It has a 6.9% ABV and is naturally gluten-free.

Ligeramente Dulce is slightly sweeter than the Seca and balanced with just the right amount of tartness. Also 6.9% ABV and naturally gluten free, this cider pairs well with spicy and savory fare like pizza, burgers, and green chile.

Speaking about this year’s apple crop, Zercher said, “It was a rough year up north due to a hard freeze in May, but we were able to find several growers with apples near Cloudcroft and Silver City and also in Corrales.” Zercher estimates that the 25 tons of apples he bought this year will make as much as 3,000 gallons of hard cider, which he has already started fermenting in two, 1,100-gallon, stainless steel tanks. After fermenting for three to four weeks, the cider will be aged in a custom-built cider cave where it will be stored at cool temperatures before being carbonated and bottled at the company’s facility, the former warehouse of a solar energy company located in mid-town Santa Fe.

Last year the company won both StartUp New Mexico’s Pitch Fiesta in Albuquerque, and Santa Fe’s BIZMIX business plan competition with its simple but powerful social mission to help local farmers. About how buying local apples can help New Mexico, Zercher comments, “Because of competition from industrial orchards elsewhere in the world, our local family farmers don't have a market for all the apples they grow. Many growers have told me they’ve left as much as two-thirds of their apples on the trees in past years because they had no one to buy them. And we love New Mexico apples! They make excellent cider because of New Mexico’s high altitude, abundant sunshine and unique system of irrigation using acequias. And our growers love Santa Sidra because we are creating an entirely new market and income stream for them by making hard cider from their apples.”

About the meaning of the name, Santa Sidra, Zercher explains, “Sidra is the Spanish word for hard cider. Our name, like our labels which are completely bi-lingual, is a tribute to our state’s heritage and way of life. Roughly translated from Spanglish, Santa Sidra means ‘Blessed Cider.’ Hard cider is one of those simple pleasures of life... like the love of family, fun with friends, contributing to a community, and sitting down to a good meal made from locally-grown food – enjoyed, of course, with a glass of delicious, locally-crafted cider.”

To learn more about Santa Sidra, visit them online at SantaSidra.com. Photos are courtesy of Santa Sidra.


First Hard Cider Company Comes to Humboldt County, California

Humboldt Cider Company announced that the renovation of the old milk barn at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds, California, the site of their new production and tasting rooms, is moving along smoothly. Using 70% reclaimed wood and other recycled building materials, the facility is a welcomed addition to the Humboldt County business community.

The company is on schedule to open the outside cider garden and tasting room next month with the latest funding of the cidery by individuals via Kickstarter with over $37,000 raised.

Co-owners, Michelle Cartledge and Jamie Ashdon, are not necessarily new to the alcohol beverage scene so a lot of their expertise in their previous jobs has helped get the cider company off the ground. Michelle's husband, Darren, started The Local Beer Bar in Eureka, California, more than two years ago and has been managing it since. Meanwhile, Michelle works at the bar and the Redwood Curtain Theater. Further, Jamie is the co-owner and operator of Humboldt Beer Works, a homebrew suppliers, retailer, and has been fermenting beer and cider for more than 10 years.

Humboldt Cider Company, the first-hard cider company in Humboldt County, uses hand-picked, fresh-pressed apples picked from small, family-owned farms to produce their products. In addition, the company has a small acreage where they plan to grow trees to source their own supply of apples to produce quality, hand-crafted cider.

One of the first ciders the Humboldt co-owners will be producing is the Macintosh Varietal which one blogger, Julianne Eagle of Fern & Fog described as “smooth and dry, a perfect balance.”

For more information on Humboldt Cider Company, please visit HumboldtCiderCompany.com.


Fly’n South from 2 Towns Ciderhouse Glutted with Gooseberries for a Tart Limited Release

2 Towns Ciderhouse is excited to announce the recent release of Fly’n South, an apple and gooseberry cider. The cider is the fourth installment of the cider company’s limited release line. Fly’n South follows the “limited release” model of unconventional ingredients paired together to create unexpected and tantalizing tastes.

Fly’n South boasts locally grown whole Oregon gooseberries, fermented with 100% fresh pressed Northwest apples. Paired perfectly with pasta carbonara, rich lobster risotto and potato pancakes, Fly’n South is dry, tart and perfect for the long haul.

As always, 2 Towns Ciderhouse uses fresh-pressed 100% Northwest apples, no added sugars and never uses artificial essence or flavorings. Instead, the company allows the fruit to speak for itself. Fly’n South is now available in the taproom, and has been distributed in bottles, 1/6bbl. kegs and 1/2bbl. kegs. Less than 1000 cases were bottled earlier this month for distribution in Oregon, Washington, California and Minnesota.

2 Towns Ciderhouse is committed to pushing the bounds of what cider can be, while also honoring tradition. To continue its interest in the unexpected and daring, 2 Towns Ciderhouse created the “limited release” line in 2013. For more information on Fly’n South and other 2 Towns ciders, please visit 2TownsCiderhouse.com. Photo from 2 Towns Ciderhouse.


Third Annual Cider Summit Chicago Returns to Navy Pier

SBS Imports and the Seattle Beer Collective are pleased to announce the return of their successful Cider Summit festival to Chicago, Illinois. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, February 7, 2015 in two sessions - 11am-3pm and 4pm-8pm in the Grand Ballroom at theNavy Pier. Cider Summit Chicago is presented by Binny’s Beverage Depot and will once again benefit The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association and Heartland Alliance.

The owners and cidermakers will be on hand to inform and guide guests through the samplings which will be available in 4-ounce portions. Cider Summit will feature over 120 ciders including regional favorites and international classics from countries such as England, Scotland, France, and Spain. The event will also feature specially selected food pairings, regional and national cider association display booths, and an event store featuring Cider Summit t-shirts and other merchandise.

Tickets are $30 and will be sold online only via CiderSummit.com. Admission includes a souvenir tasting glass, eight tasting tickets and a donation to Heartland Alliance. Additional tasting tickets will be available for sale onsite at $2 per ticket. Designated driver tickets are available for $5, and include a bottle of water. A separate ticket is required for each session. The event is 21 and over only. A sell-out is expected, so please purchase in advance.

“Chicago-area cider enthusiasts have really embraced our event,” noted event co-founder Alan Shapiro of SBS Imports. “Our expansion to the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom will enable us to accommodate an even larger audience and offer an increased range of ciders for both cider lovers and the cider curious.”

For those seeking to utilize public transportation, Chicago Brew Bus will provide shuttle service starting at 10:30am between the Blue Line Grand stop, Red Line Grand-State stop, and Navy Pier throughout the day. Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA) buses also run directly to the Navy Pier. Onsite parking is available in the Navy Pier garages.

Cider Summit is made possible with supporting sponsors The Northman Cider Bar, Hotel Palomar, Chicago Brew Bus, and Louis Glunz Beers. More information is available at CiderSummit.com.


Wyder’s Hard Cider Launches Unique Reposado Cider

Wyder’s Hard Cider has specialized in eclectic fruit-forward ciders for more than two decades. Earlier this month, Wyder’s announced the launch of a new cider style inspired by a tropical agave-based spirit, Reposado.

Reposado is the name given to tequilas aged between two and twelve months in oak barrels. The practice of wood aging smoothes out the tequila, while infusing it with subtle oak notes. By infusing the traditional Wyder’s Pear cider with smooth subtle oak laden tequila notes, Wyder’s Reposado cider creates an adventurous tango with the classic blue agave based spirit.

Wyder’s Reposado was released on draft to select West Coast markets in late 2013 for market testing. After an overwhelmingly positive response, Wyder’s decided to roll the cider out nationally in six-packs. It has hit some store shelves already but most by this winter. The refreshing cider, crafted with some inspiration from south of the border, is 6.9% ABV and has a retail price of $10.99 per six-pack.

Visit the Wyder’s Cider Locator to find Reposado near you.


Eat This…

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From Tieton Cider Works

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From So Good Blog

Photo Credit: Tieton Cider Works

Photo Credit: Zorica L.