Hard Cider Newsletter

Prepare for the Holidays with Jack Daniel’s

As you’re gearing up for the holiday season consider the limited, seasonal Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack Tennessee Cider as a mixing and gifting option. Winter Jack has been crafted at the Jack Daniel Distillery as a heartwarming, seasonal blend of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, apple cider liqueur, and holiday spices.

At 30 proof, Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack has an aroma of warm seasonal spices with notes of orange peel, cinnamon and clove. The light amber colored spirit has a taste of warm apple pie and cinnamon that nicely compliments the notes of the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and finishes smooth and warm with holiday spices. Available in 750mL bottles for a limited time thru December 31, Winter Jack is primarily found in liquor and grocery stores for off-premise consumption with limited availability at select on-premise location such as ski resorts.

“Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack draws its inspiration from an original family recipe from Jack’s home in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Our heartwarming Tennessee Cider is best served warm and garnished with a cinnamon stick or used in these tasty holiday-inspired recipes,” commented Lisa Hunter, Brand Director of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Fire, Winter Jack & Country Cocktails.

Winter Jack Mimosa

1oz Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack
1oz Apple Cider
1oz Korbel Champagne

Fill glass with one part of each ingredient. Serve chilled.

White Cider

2oz Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack
1oz Caramel Sauce
4oz Half & Half

Stir ingredients in microwave safe glass. Heat until warm to the touch.

Winter Jack Apple Negroni

3oz Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack
1oz Campari
1oz Sweet Vermouth
1 Large Orange Peel

In a shaker filled with ice, combine the Winter Jack, Campari and sweet Vermouth. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a coupe glass. Run the orange peel around the edge of the coupe and squeeze as you drop into the glass.

Winter Jack Mango Bellini

4oz Jack Daniel’s Winter Jack
1oz Mango Juice
Chilled Club Soda

In a champagne flute, add the mango juice and Winter Jack. Top with the chilled club soda.

For more cocktail recipes and additional information, please visit JackDaniels.com. Photos courtesy of Jack Daniel Distillery. Remain a joy to the world. Drink responsibly.


Buskey Cider Launches Heritage Blend Variety Pack

Buskey Cider, located in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia released a groundbreaking Deconstructed Heritage Blend Variety 4-Pack, including the apples, Harrison, Ashmead’s Kernel, and Cameo as single varietals and then as a blend. This project is revolutionary in the cider world and gives customers a cider tasting experience on the go in an approachable can format.

Buskey’s goal in this project was to make an exciting premium blend to celebrate the 2018 harvest and Virginia Cider Week (held last month) so they selected three apples, the Harrison, Ashmead’s Kernel, and Cameo, to highlight in a culminating blend for the final can. This allows the customers to taste each apple separately and also in the blend so they can really experience the beauty each apple brought to the blend.  The blended cider has a big tannic mouthfeel with hints of banana and peach. All four ciders are completely dry.

“Our Heritage Cider Variety 4-Pack gives us the chance to share a unique opportunity with our fans, to allow them to experience each apple used in the blend on its own as a single varietal and then see how they co-mingle to create a heritage blended product,” said Will Correll, Founder and CEO of Buskey Cider. “Our passion at Buskey is making great ciders approachable while pushing the limits of what has been done in cider, which is why our talented team is so excited to be bringing this project to you in our standard format, a can!”

Buskey uses quality fresh pressed Virginia apples year-round to make amazing juice blends for its flagships, seasonal ciders, and limited release ciders. Having great apples in their blend all year long is an important part of Buskey’s mission but only once a year, during harvest, is there access to some of the typically less available apples that are grown in Virginia.

The Heritage Cider Variety 4-Pack cans are available in the Buskey tasting room located in Richmond, Virginia at 2910 W. Leigh Street; and a limited amount of the Heritage Blend cans will be released throughout the state. For tasting room hours, directions and additional information, visit BuskeyCider.com. Photos courtesy of Buskey Cider.


MadTree Brewing Adds Cider to Portfolio

MadTree Brewing of Cincinnati, Ohio, proudly introduced a new hard cider exclusively available at their taproom using locally grown apple cider from Beiersdorfer Orchard in Southeast Indiana. This marks the first time the brewery has offered a hard cider. They were driven by the desire to create a quality beverage for those with gluten sensitivity or for those who are looking for a beer alternative.

The hard cider is named 42 Mile, a homage to Beiersdorfer Orchard located 42 miles east of the brewery. 42 Mile is a semi-sweet cider that strikes a balance of sweetness and dryness to create a crisp apple finish that all can appreciate. Additionally, it meets FDA guidelines to be declared gluten-free which will provide a new option for taproom patrons with gluten sensitivity. The final laboratory results testing for gluten have been made public by MadTree on their blog for your review.

“When we set out to make a hard cider, it was really important for us to know where the fruit came from and who the farmer was that grew it,” said Ryan Blevins, MadTree head brewer. “Once I visited the Beiersdorfer farm and talked with Jeremy [Beiersdorfer], I knew his apple cider would be the right base to make a quality, delicious hard cider that we’d be proud of to represent MadTree.”

Beiersdorfer Orchard general manager, Jeremy Beiersdorfer, said, “Working with Ryan and the MadTree team has been great. They understand the passion and effort that goes into growing quality apples to produce great cider. I appreciate their desire to support local family farms and we’re proud to have our apples in their hard cider. Plus, I’ve always been a fan of MadTree’s beers!”

Check out MadTreeBrewing.com for tasting room hours, directions, and more information on MadTree’s portfolio of beers. Photos courtesy of MadTree Brewing.


Five Cideries Expanding Their Roots

Cider makers continued to expand their reach in 2018 just as off-premise sales heat up with growth in every region of the United States. According to research firm Nielsen, off-premise sales continue to grow, with third quarter year-over-year comparisons up 9.4% for the category. The following cideries are taking advantage of continued growth by reaching more customers beyond their home cities and states:

Naked Flock Hard Cider based in Warwick, New York expanded distribution to Connecticut when they announced their partnership with distributor Drinx Unlimited to make their line of ciders available to the state earlier this year. Naked Flock Hard Cider is now available to licensed restaurants and retailers in Fairfield, Litchfield and New Haven counties. The company’s full core line-up of hand-crafted hard ciders is available for purchase, including their semi-sweet Draft Hard Cider (6.8% ABV) flavored with a hint of maple syrup, and their semi-dry Currant Hard Cider (6.5% ABV) flavored with black currants grown in New York’s Hudson Valley. Their popular summer seasonal offering, Lemon Ginger Hard Cider (6% ABV) and Pumpkin Hard Cider (6.8% ABV) was also available.

“We’re excited to work with Drinx Unlimited and join their growing craft beer and cider portfolio in order to bring our line of authentic, hand-crafted ciders to a wider audience,” said Owner and Cider Maker, Jonathan Hull. Naked Flock Hard Cider, produced by Applewood Winery, began introducing their ciders to a wider audience in 2012 through distribution in New York and New Jersey.

Nine Pin Ciderworks began distribution of their products to the state of New Jersey through Remarkable Liquids, the cidery’s New York State distributor. Nine Pin’s entry into New Jersey marks the third state, following Massachusetts and Connecticut, where Nine Pin Cider can be found outside of the company’s home state of New York. New Jersey cider drinkers can find Nine Pin cans, bottles and draft options at select locations.

“Nine Pin is excited to expand distribution into New Jersey. We’re happy to be able to provide our quality New York cider to our good friends who live so closely nearby in the Garden State,” said Alejandro del Peral, co-founder and cider maker. Distribution in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut has allowed Nine Pin’s reach to grow regionally, while still maintaining its essential Upstate New York identity. As a farm cidery, Nine Pin produces cider from apples sourced entirely from New York orchards, and is permitted to sell directly to consumer as well as to self-distribute.

Artifact Cider Project has been self-distributing in its home state of Massachusetts since its founding in 2014, but last month the cidery partnered with Massachusetts Beverage Alliance (MBA) for statewide distribution of their hard ciders. Artifact’s unique approaches to accessible single varietal styles, wild fermentations, blends with black currants and explorations of flavorsome bittersweet fruit will continue to be available on draft and in their eye catching cans across the same locations customers have found them previously, with new additions expected throughout the state as the partnership rolls out over the coming months.

“This is a natural evolution of Artifact’s growth and MBA offers a perfect partner for expanding our brand in the state,” says Co-Founder Jake Mazar. “We’re thrilled to have found a distribution partner that shares our passion for craft cider and supports our vision of creating world-class ciders from apples of the Northeast.” The move to distribute with MBA will allow the Artifact team to focus all of its energies on their passion for producing the highest quality ciders, while also developing a direct to consumer experience in 2019.

Artifact has steadily grown since its founding, ramping up production from less than 500 cases in 2014 to targeting more than 40,000 cases from the 2018 harvest. Over the past four years, the cidery self-distributed to over 500 accounts in Massachusetts and has recently signed distribution deals in five other states, including Maine and Rhode Island.

For its part, MBA has watched Artifact's growth from afar and maintained an interest in working together as a part of its commitment to building the strongest craft cider portfolio in the state.  General Manager Brian Murphy stated, “We are really excited to be partnering with the team from Artifact Cider to distribute their hard ciders throughout Massachusetts. Their dedication to crafting creative cider blends using local apples and other distinctive ingredients is impressive. With the opening of their new facility and the momentum the brand has in the market, we see a very bright future for Artifact Cider!" Established in 2011, MBA is a craft-focused statewide network built through an alliance of five long-standing family owned distributors.

Portland Cider Co. is taking its award-winning Northwest ciders to the state of California through three distributors who will service the Northern parts of the state. Morris Distributing will deliver products to Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, Lake, Napa and San Francisco counties. Saccani Distributing Co. will distribute products to counties in the far north such as Siskiyou and south like Solano. Meanwhile, Bay Area Distributing will take charge of East and West Contra Costa, Alameda and Marin counties. All distribution channels will have Portland Cider’s year-round favorites, including Apple, Sangria, Hop’ Rageous, and The Perfect 10 in cans, bottles and draft. Seasonal favorites like Concord will be limited to draft.

"We are thrilled to be bringing our cider to the Northern California area with the support of these fine distributors," said Lynda Parrish, owner of Portland Cider Co. "We've wanted to enter the California market where it made sense. There are a lot of Portland Cider House visitors from the San Francisco area that are going to be thrilled to be able to find us in their local stores."

Shoal Hope Ciderworks inked a distribution agreement with Berkshire Brewing Company in which Berkshire will manage customer development, sales, support and delivery of Shoal Hope Ciderworks’ award-winning hard ciders across Massachusetts with plans to eventually expand into Rhode Island and Connecticut. But expanding distribution is not the only reason for this decision: there are several new ciders under development and Rob Brosofsky, Owner of Shoal Hope, is working closely with consumers to develop and produce new products and packaging initiatives. He explained that he loves the opportunity to interact directly with consumers and this agreement will give him more time to do that and to act on their suggestions.

“The company reached a point where managing both cider production and sales and delivery responsibilities on a daily basis proved to be a challenge. I didn’t want to compromise and deliver a less than exceptional product,” explained Brosofsky. “Partnering with an organization like Berkshire Brewing is the best path forward. After working side-by-side with several of their sales representatives at various events, I’ve been impressed with their professionalism, industry knowledge, and most importantly their commitment to their customers.” Brosofsky noted that the company’s existing customers would continue to be serviced directly by him.


Meet the Cider Maker: Shaun Peck of Paradise Ciders

Picture yourself basking in the sun on a sandy beach in Honolulu with a delicious Paradise Cider in your hand.  Yeah, we’d like to be there too.

We got to chat with Shaun Peck, one of the founders and cider makers of Paradise Ciders, Hawaii’s first hard cider company, located in Honolulu on the island of O’ahu.  All of Paradise Ciders are handcrafted in small batches crafted with local fruit and flavors inspired by the island it resides on.  Here’s more about how Paradise Ciders came to be, their inspiration and what’s to come for the cidery:

Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you from? What is your background in? Typical drink of choice?
My name is Shaun Peck and I grew up in Hawaii. I started home cider making about six years ago. My background is in the restaurant industry and that’s actually how my business partner (Kasey Sulheim) and I met — we were both bartenders at Yard House in Waikiki. We noticed that ciders were becoming really popular, and people were constantly asking why there wasn’t a local cider on tap. I was already making a lilikoi (passion fruit) cider at home that people loved and we felt like there was a gap in the market for a great local product. The original cider that I started cider making became our flagship flavor after a few changes: Lei’d Back Lilikoi. We still have that on tap at our Tasting Room and in various locations throughout Hawaii.

With a market that is becoming dense, what are you and your brand inspired by and how are you making a splash within the industry?
We are inspired by Hawaii and all of the exotic fruits it has to offer. We are Hawaii’s first cider company and we wanted to bring something new to the market that no one had done before. Our focus is on showcasing local fruits and really capturing paradise in a glass. We also try to create a wide variety of flavors, not your typical sweet cider — we’ve created dry ciders, sour ciders, tart ciders, even a half-cider/half-saison that we did in collaboration with Lanikai Brewing Company (a first of its kind in Hawaii). We like to think outside the box when it comes to cider making.

Hawaii isn’t necessarily known for apples or cider.  With the limited amount of cider available in Hawaii, how do you encourage new consumers to give your cider a try?
We don’t focus on apples, we focus on local fruits. Even though we begin with an apple base, we really try to showcase the fruit/herb/spice that we are using. A lot of people don’t even realize there’s an apple base in our ciders.

Favorite Paradise cider and why?
All of the ciders are like my children, I can’t pick a favorite! But Lei’d Back Lilikoi always has a special place in my heart because it’s the first cider we ever brought to market and it really jump-started our business.

I’ve followed the opening of your tasting room on social media this fall. It seems to be doing really well! How has having a tasting room grown or affected business?
Our Tasting Room has been such an amazing addition to our business! People love to come down and try our flagship flavors, but they get especially excited for our small batches that we create only one or two kegs of. A lot of them sellout within just a few days. We offer growler fills and 22oz bottles to-go as well, and people love to come by and grab these on their way to the beach or get-togethers – an option that wasn’t available for the first year and a half we were in business since we were exclusively wholesaling to restaurants and bars.

People also love to talk story with us about how we got started, where we’re at now and watching us grow! We have people that used to fill growlers by appointment before we had a Tasting Room — and now they have a spot to come eat, drink, relax and enjoy paradise by the glass. They love seeing the progress and how far we’ve come!

With the cider industry expanding, what word describes you and your involvement in the cider industry and what makes your brand different?
Grassroots. Paradise Ciders is different from a lot of cideries and breweries in that we grew and continue to grow organically. We didn’t crowdfund (Kasey and I bartended every night after working all day at our warehouse to fund our business). We don’t advertise; and a lot of our recognition and success has been due to word-of-mouth, solid relationships and social media. And, our product speaks for itself — some of our big accounts love our product so much that they use our cider in handcrafted cocktails or add multiple lines (like Yard House in Waikiki who just added their fourth Paradise Ciders line).

Any big future plans for you and Paradise Ciders?
We have new equipment on the way and will be quadrupling production in the new year. We also just started distribution to Maui so you can find us on outer islands starting in 2019! In addition, we will begin canning in the near future. Eventually, we’d love to start shipping to the mainland and beyond!

Interviewed by: Kristen Sarcone, Staff Writer of Hard Cider News. Photos courtesy of Paradise Ciders. Learn more about Paradise Ciders by visiting them online at ParadiseCiders.com.


Ring in the New Year with Cider

It’s almost time to pop the champagne, watch the ball drop, and welcome a new year! As 2018 comes to a close we all typically take the time to reflect on the past year, the good and the bad, and marvel in what’s to come in 2019.  This New Year’s Eve gather with friends and family in celebration of the new year and make a toast with cider!   We’ve found some awesome cider spots with New Year’s Eve parties that are sure to help you ring in the New Year in a big way!

Mullers Cider House
1344 University Avenue, #180
Rochester, NY 14607

Mon, Dec 31, 2018, 7:00 PM – Tue, Jan 1, 2019, 1:00 AM EST

Price: $50

What You Need To Know:
Mullers Cider House is hosting a New Year's Eve celebration to ring in 2019 and celebrate their 4th year in business.  With the purchase of a ticket you will receive a bottle of champagne style corked cider to open when midnight strikes, unlimited hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening, music, good company, cash bar and more! Don’t forget to dress to impress at Muller’s most exclusive event of the year. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit EventBrite or Facebook.  

Bad Seed Cider
43 Baileys Gap Road
Highland, NY 12528

Date & Time:
Mon, Dec 31, 2018, 9:30 PM – Tue, Jan 1, 2019, 1:00 AM EST

Price: $89-$149

What You Need To Know:
An event not to miss! Kick off 2019 with an exclusive “What Happens at Monte Carlo” murder mystery food and cider ball drop event at Bad Seed Cider Co.  At $89 a head, you will be included in the murder mystery game, receive four small plates of artisanal foods, have access to Bad Seed’s open bar, get a glass of champagne to toast at midnight, and entrance to the post-midnight dance party. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit EventBrite or Facebook.

Buskey Cider
2910 West Leigh Street
Richmond, VA 23230

Mon, Dec 31, 2018, 8:00 PM – Tue, Jan 1, 2019, 1:00 AM EST

Price: $40-$50

What You Need To Know:
Party your last night of 2018 away with the folks of Buskey Cider.  Admission includes a complimentary New Year’s Toast, a limited release commemorative Buskey Cider New Year’s Eve 2019 glass, watermelon rosemary vintage keg drop, a special one night only cider release, midnight balloon drop with Buskey prizes, dinner, and limited guest craft beer options. You’ll also have access to cider specials all night long! $3 until 10pm, $2 until 11pm, and $1 until midnight! For more information and to buy tickets, please visit EventBrite or Facebook.

Willamette Ale & Cider House
1720 Willamette Falls Drive
West Linn, OR 97068

Date & Time:
Mon, Dec 31, 2018, 7:00 PM – Tue, Jan 1, 2019, 1:00 AM PST

Price: $30

What You Need To Know:
Enjoy a night of live music, food and cider at Willamette Ale & Cider House.  Tickets include one drink ticket for a cider-champagne toast, one food ticket to choose from the New Year’s special menu, and free samples of special craft beer, cider, and wine.  This event is limited to 100 tickets - make sure to get yours early! For more information and to buy tickets, please visit EventBrite or Facebook.

ERIS Brewery and Cider House
4240 West Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60641

Date & Time:
Mon, Dec 31, 2018, 8:30 PM – Tue, Jan 1, 2019, 1:00 AM CST

Price: $50

What You Need To Know:
ERIS is hosting a New Year’s Eve Party with a four-course dinner beer and cider pairing beginning at 9PM. After dinner, hit the dance floor and party the night away with the DJ and conclude the evening with a toast and balloon drop at midnight! For more information and to buy tickets, please visit EventBrite or Facebook.

Capitol Cider
818 East Pike Street
Seattle, WA 98122

Date & Time:
Mon, Dec 31, 2018, 6:00 PM – Tue, Jan 1, 2019, 2:00 AM PST

Price: $45-$600

What You Need To Know:
Capitol Cider is hosting you for ‘Countdown at the Bayou’ – a French Creole celebration that will highlight their favorite aspects of New Orleans.  You’ll find themed food and drinks, live music, burlesque performances, magic, a brass band and more! General admission tickets include: coat check, midnight toast, and exclusive performance admission. VIP tickets include: coat check, midnight toast, reserved exclusive seating, and a gift bag. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit EventBrite or Facebook.

Compiled by: Kristen Sarcone, Staff Writer of Hard Cider News. Photos courtesy of each location for specified event.


Eat This…

Drink That…

Winter Jack Caramel Sauce
From The Beige House

Whiskey Cider
From Veganosity

Photo Credit: Flowers Communication Group

Photo Credit: Linda Meyer