Hard Cider Newsletter

Nine Pin Cider Plants Urban Orchard in Albany

Nine Pin Ciderworks, New York’s first farm cidery, joined local and state officials, the Washington Park Conservancy, and Samascott Orchards in planting eight dwarf apple trees as part of its Albany Urban Orchard project in Washington Park.

More than 100 joined in for the planting of the trees. The orchard varieties included Idared, Northern Spy, Gold Rush, Golden Russet, Jonathan, Roxbury Russet, Esopus Spitzenburg, and Otterson.

“Nine Pin prides itself on our commitment to New York agriculture, so the addition of the urban orchard right here in Albany literally puts roots into our home city. It doesn’t get more local than this. We are very excited to start using apples grown right here in Albany in our cider,” said Alejandro del Peral, Nine Pin’s co-founder and cider maker.

The trees were provided by Kinderhook, New York–based Samascott Orchards. Upstate New York’s cold winters and moderate humid summers makes for ideal apple growing conditions. Apples are a member of the rose family of plants. A standard-size apple tree starts bearing fruit eight to ten years after it is planted. A dwarf tree starts bearing fruit in three to five years.

The orchard will aim to educate the community about New York’s remarkable and historically coveted apple crop. Apples have been a pivotal crop in our state since colonial times with hard apple cider being a crucial staple. Today, New York is the second largest apple producer in the United States but more importantly, it is home to the nation’s most diverse apple crop, making New York the destination for outstanding craft hard cider.

“Albany’s Urban Orchard is an important aesthetic and educational addition to Washington Park and the City,” said Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan. “Thank you to Nine Pin Ciderworks, Samascott Orchards, and the Washington Park Conservancy for working together with the City of Albany to bring one of the country’s first urban orchards to New York’s Capital City.”

“This is an exciting and innovative project. Not only will it help highlight New York’s long history of apple culture, it will also introduce new generations to the culture of apples for urban growers. And importantly, this new orchard will strengthen and contribute to the vibrancy of Washington Park as a rich urban oasis surrounded by Albany’s historic neighborhoods,” said Albany Common Councilmember Richard Conti.

To learn more information about this urban orchard project and to learn where Nine Pin products can be found, visit NinePinCider.com. Photos courtesy of Cindy Schultz/Relentless.


Citizen Cider Announces Expansion

Citizen Cider, founded in 2010 on a hunch and some good old-fashioned hard work, has quickly become a leading player in the craft cider arena. Citizen Cider strives to look at the bigger picture and focuses on being involved in every aspect of their supply chain, sourcing all fruit directly from local farmers and pressing the juice to create a true craft cider. Never from concentrate.

In response to many years of continued growth and an increasingly limited amount of space, Citizen Cider has moved forward with plans to expand the company’s operation to include a state of the art fruit processing and storage facility on Flynn Avenue in Burlington, Vermont. “It has been our dream to integrate apple pressing into the operation since we founded Citizen Cider in 2011,” says co-founder Justin Heilenbach, “we are really excited to bring that plan to fruition! Many thanks to Stan and Mary at Happy Valley Orchard for working with us over these years, pressing the cider and solving many problems along the way, to allow Citizen Cider to grow enough to make the expansion a reality.”

“This new space will make it possible for us to accommodate growers year-round,” says Marketing Director, Cheray MacFarland, “It also keeps us close to our home base and allows us to further our commitment to the great city of Burlington.”

Citizen Cider will celebrate its grand opening on May 12th at the new space on Flynn Avenue with a block party including local businesses, City Market and Switchback Brewing. Learn more about the event at CitizenCider.com.


Canada's Ernest Cider Introduces Wild Blueberry

Canadian-based cidery, Ernest Cider Co., describes themselves as passionate about apples, cider, community and the environment.  All of Ernest Cider’s apples and honey are sourced locally throughout the province of Ontario. This spring, Ernest Cider is introducing Wild Blueberry Cider.  Fermented with Canadian wild blueberries and sweetened with local blueberry honey and pure Canadian blueberry juice.  Wild Blueberry is the third cider welcomed to the Ernest Cider family. 

Michelle Faris, Co-Owner and Founder said, “Growing up in northern Ontario, wild blueberries bring up great memories of my mom’s wild blueberry pie and that is what inspired this cider.  We wanted to launch something unique and fresh to the cider market using local apples all the while experimenting with various types of local honey and home-grown flavors.”   What makes this cider unique is the addition of blueberry honey, which many don’t know is honey that is harvested near blueberry fields with a rich amber color and a strong floral and fruit character. 

Steve Faris, Co-Owner, Founder and Cidermaker, continued, “As always, Ernest Wild Blueberry is still considered a dry cider like our other Ernest products.  Our ciders usually have about half or a third less residual sweetness than most mass produced imported or domestic ciders.”

Ernest Cider is dedicated to crafting ciders with high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients and committed to creating new and unique ciders that are apple-forward and natural with very little intervention.   Ernest Wild Blueberry Cider finishes at 5.9% ABV and can be found in LCBO stores throughout Ontario, Canada, and select grocery stores across Ontario beginning Saturday, April 29, for the spring and summer seasons.  For more information, please visit ErnestCider.com. Photos courtesy of Ernest Cider.


Blake's Hard Cider Introduces Cider with Proceeds to Benefit LGBTQ Civil Rights Organization

Blake’s Hard Cider, the largest craft hard cider brand in the Midwest, has introduced an inspired beverage concept that is equal parts refreshing and meaningful – with a sizable portion of proceeds going to leading LGBTQ civil rights organization, The Human Rights Campaign® (HRC).

Blake’s Rainbow Seeker is a delicious specialty cider featuring a semi-sweet blend of Michigan-grown apples infused with real pineapple and a hint of sage. The all-natural, gluten-free cider features a 5.5% ABV and it arrives in stores in May across all 19 states of Blake’s distribution footprint. Customers can find the tropical cider in most Midwest Meijer locations and all Michigan Kroger's. Proceeds from Rainbow Seekerthe first of Blake’s Kinder Cider Series, will fund a $40,000 direct donation to advance civil rights and equality programs spearheaded by HRC. The cider will flow from taps across Blake’s footprint beginning Friday, April 27.

“Rainbow Seeker is the first installment in what I believe is a kinder cider platform for Blake’s,” said Andrew Blake, owner and founder of Blake’s Hard Cider. “Our brand has grown quickly, and with that evolution comes opportunity to make a difference and to bring awareness to social and environmental issues that have great personal and communal meaning. As with everything we do at Blake’s, we’ll do what we believe is right.”

Rainbow Seeker will be sold in 12-ounce cans in six-pack form and on draft throughout Blake’s distribution network for the duration of the summer. Each six-pack has a suggested retail price of $10.99 - $11.99 per with a portion of program proceeds going directly to HRC. The brand is currently sold in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, New Jersey and Florida. It will be launching in Virginia and Washington D.C. this Spring.

The HRC is America’s largest civil rights organization. Its three million members and supporters work to advance a future where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

“We are grateful to Andrew and the Blake’s team for their generous support of LGBTQ equality,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This is a fun concept that we can all embrace, yet it comes at a serious moment in time when we are working harder than ever to push back against anti-equality sentiment.”

Blake’s will partner with distributors, retailers, restaurant and bar partners to host events during June Gay Pride Month and in the fall for National Coming Out Day.

“We’ll produce 120,000 cans and we’ll distribute those cans to 19 states,” said Blake. “We see it as 120,000 great opportunities to encourage people to be kind, support equality and simply be good to one another.”

Rainbow Seeker is the first installment of the Blake’s Hard Cider Co. Kinder Cider Series – a series that will bring awareness to social and environmental issues that directly impact Blake’s small farm community. If you would like to get involved in this movement, visit BlakesHardCider.com/donate. Photos courtesy of Blake’s Hard Cider.


Woodchuck Announces Ciderstock 2018 Line-Up

Woodchuck Hard Cider is excited to present the line-up for Ciderstock® 2018. On August 18, the cidery will host headliner 311, with special guests Moon Taxi, Jukebox the Ghost, along with Vermont’s Seth Yacovone Band. The musical line-up will be supported by great food trucks, a ‘Firkin Frenzy’, and of course, Woodchuckcider. Tickets ($35) are available via Ticketfly or at the Woodchuck Cider Housein Middlebury, Vermont, and $40 day-of.

What: Ciderstock2018
When: August 18, 2018, 2pm – 10pm
Where: The Woodchuck Cidery, 1321 Exchange St, Middlebury, VT 05753
Tickets: Woodchuck.com/ciderstock

“We are very excited that Ciderstockis celebrating its 5th year,” said Marketing Vice President, Bridget Blacklock. “We have a great line-up to help us mark this anniversary of bringing cider and music together. Many save this date on the calendar each year, and we look forward to welcoming these enthusiastic fans and more to celebrate Woodchuckin our backyard!”

Ciderstockguests will also have the opportunity to meet the cider makers, sample new styles of cider, and kick back and enjoy lawn games with friends. Local food vendors will be on hand to sell their wares, as well.
Fans should follow the Woodchucksocial channels closely to find out how they can win tickets and a hotel stay in Middlebury for Ciderstockby submitting original photos, videos or artwork to @WoodchuckCider and including #CiderstockTurns5. The contest will be running the month of May.

Further, event organizers of the Pour the Core series of hard cider festivals, coming up in Brooklyn (June 9), Long Island (September 29) and Philadelphia (October 20), have partnered with Ciderstock to run a contest for tickets and a hotel stay, as well. Any Pour the Core ticket purchaser who uses the promo code CIDERSTOCK will save $10 off general admission tickets to Pour the Core and be automatically entered into the contest. Those who purchase VIP tickets to Pour the Core events will automatically be entered into the contest too! Pour the Core ticket purchasers have until Friday, August 3, 2018 at 11:59pm to purchase their ticket as outlined above to become a contestant.

For additional Ciderstock information visit Woodchuck.com/Ciderstock. Photos courtesy of Woodchuck Cider.


Pommies Cider Annual Apple Tree Giveaway

Pommies Cider Co. is returning for year six of their Pommies Apple Tree Giveaway. Starting April 27, Pommies will be at select LCBO locations in Canada sampling both their Original and Farmhouse ciders. Consumers who purchase 12 bottles or cans of Pommies Original Cider and/or Pommies Farmhouse Cider will leave the store with a gala apple tree. To date, Pommies and the LCBO have given away over 700 apple trees, which have been planted across Ontario.

“We at Pommies are all about giving back, and what better way to give back than to have consumers reap the benefits and harvests from these trees,” said Nick Sutcliffe, owner, Pommies Cider Co. “Now in our sixth year, it has been great receiving photos from our consumers whose giveaway trees are now bearing fruit.”

The campaign not only emphasizes the fact that Pommies ciders are natural products made from 100% local Ontario apples, but it shows just how well apples grow in Ontario and the benefits of buying local.

“Ontario craft cider continues to be a growth segment for the LCBO, and we are proud to support local,” said Mark Wilson, Category Manager, Beer & Cider, LCBO. “This campaign highlights our commitment to support the local business community and encourages green initiatives in support of Ontario’s agriculture.” 

Pommies Cider tastings and tree giveaways will take place at the following LCBO locations:

  • Bolton LCBO (30 McEwan Drive E) – Friday April 27, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.  

  • Orangeville LCBO (40 Broadway) – Friday April 27, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

  • Caledon East LCBO (16000 Airport Road) – Saturday April 28, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Ancaster LCBO (737 Golf Links Road) – Friday May 4, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

  • Guelph LCBO (16 Wellington St W) – Friday May 4, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

  • Fergus LCBO (97 Parkside Drive W) – Saturday May 5, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. 

  • Oakville LCBO (251 Oak Walk Drive) – Friday May 11, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. 

  • Waterloo LCBO (115 King Street S) – Saturday May 12, 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.               

The heritage gala apple trees that will be given away at each location are approximately three feet tall and one year old. These dwarf variety trees will not exceed a height of eight-feet tall when fully grown.  Detailed planting and growing instructions will be provided with each tree.

Pommies Cider and Pommies Farmhouse Cider are produced in Caledon, Ontario, and are made from the juice of 100% Ontario apples. They are both gluten free, GMO free, vegan, and contain no artificial flavours or colours and are never made from concentrate. Pommies Cider is sold in unique 355ml bottles in four-packs for $13.50 and in 473ml cans for $3.25. Pommies Farmhouse is sold in 473ml cans for $3.25, as well. Customers can go to LCBO.com to find LCBO locations carrying Pommies ciders and/or visit Pommies.com for further information on Pommies Cider. Photos courtesy of Pommies Cider.


Eat This…

Drink That…

Pulled Pork Tacos with Hard Cider Barbecue Sauce & Apple Slaw            
From The Hungary Buddha Eats the World

Orchard Mimosa
From Chris Lehault on Serious Eats

Photo Credit: Chrissy of Hungary Buddha

Photo Credit: Christopher Lehault