Hard Cider Newsletter

Pride Month Support from the Cider Industry

In support and celebration of Pride Month, several cider makers have released products to benefit various LGBTQ+ organizations. Here’s six that you should find, buy, drink and be an ally with:

  1. Nine Pin Cider and Remarkable Liquids are donating $10 to OutHudson for every case of Pride Cans sold. Nine Pin andits distributor, Remarkable Liquids, will each donate $5 for every case sold. Additionally, Nine Pin is selling Pride Cans through itstasting room and donating $1 for every four-pack sold directly to consumers there. Pride Cans are specially labeled cans of thecidery’s Signature cider.

    “Our community is our priority and we celebrate the diversity within Nine Pin as well as among ourdedicated fans in Columbia County [New York] and beyond,” said Alejandro del Peral, Nine Pin co-founder and cider maker. “We hope that through these cans we can support OutHudson in its mission to advance their cause.” OutHudson is a volunteer led non-profit organization formed in 2016, aiming to improve the quality of life and advance the visibility of LGBTQ people in Columbia County, New York. Nine Pin, who sources the majority of the apples it uses from Columbia County, coordinated the effort to both help amplify the organization’s voice and raise money for their cause.

  2. Diskin Cider re-released their Daydream cider to benefit the Nashville LGBT Chamber Foundation. Daydream is Diskin’s prickly pear rosé cider with a 6.5% ABV. After a successful Pride Month campaign in 2018, the cidery is once again donating a portion of proceeds from the sales of Daydream to the Nashville LGBT Chamber Foundation to support efforts to educate, inspire and empower LGBT business professionals.

  3. 2 Towns Ciderhouse released a SeekOut Seltzer four-pack to support the Pride Foundation. The cidery created a custom four-pack 16-ounce can wrap to celebrate the collaboration, which is available in select grocery stores. The campaign will support the foundation with a $2 donation for every case of the four-pack and $5 donation per keg of Raspberry + Meyer Lemon SeekOut.

    “This is the first year we’re partnering with Pride Foundation and we’re really excited about it. We feel that our company and their organization have great similarities in ethos, and we are excited to see what can be achieved with the scholarships they provide. We hope this continues as a long-lasting partnership,” stated Scott Bugni, Director of Marketing at 2 Towns Ciderhouse.

    In addition to supporting Pride Foundation directly, 2 Towns Ciderhouse and SeekOut Seltzer are the main cider and seltzer sponsors of the Seattle Pridefest, and have hosted other events to support the LGBTQ+ community during the months of June and July.

  4. Ernest Cider has supported the Rainbow Railway this Pride Month through the release of Rainbow.
    The international community has been responding with outrage to the news that Brunei is imposing barbaric new laws, including death penalty by stoning for homosexuality and adultery, and amputations for theft. In April, a reported 600 people had reached out to Rainbow Railway to help them find a pathway to safety. Ernest Cider is proudly supporting Rainbow Railway this Pride Month in their mission to help persecuted LGBTQI+ people find a safe refuge. With every Ernest Rainbow can sold, the cider company is donating 10 cents to Rainbow Railroad.

    Since their founding in 2006, Rainbow Railroad has helped more than 500 LGBTQI+ individuals find a path to safety to start a new life – free from persecution, imprisonment or execution.

  5. Blake’s Hard Cider re-released its ‘Kinder Cider’ Rainbow Seeker in partnership with the LGBT National Help Center. Rainbow Seeker is a tropical-inspired craft hard cider which combines a blend of Michigan-grown apples infused with pineapple and a hint of sage. It was first released in 2018 as part of the Blake’s ‘Kinder Cider’ philanthropic product line series and is back again this year. However, for 2019, Blake’s Hard Cider has partnered with the LGBT National Help Center and is committed to donate a portion of proceeds from the sales of Rainbow Seeker to the non-profit organization which offers support and resources to individuals regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

    “Supporting and giving back to the community is central to our family and our business, which is why we created the ‘Kinder Cider’ series and are proud to re-release Rainbow Seeker this summer,” said Andrew Blake, owner and founder of Blake’s Hard Cider. “When we learned of the vital work by the LGBT National Help Center, we knew we wanted to lend our help to further their mission.”
  6. Rainbow Seeker (5.5% ABV) will be available through late summer and sold in 12-ounce six-pack cans in 17 states through the cidery’s distribution network including most major grocery chains such as Meijer and Kroger.

  7. Houston Cider released Raspberry Lemonade ‘Prider’ in celebration of Pride Month. Houston Cider is proud to be part of one of the most radically diverse cities in America and, to celebrate this year, had a special release as vibrant and beautiful as their community. Prider is available in four-packs and single cans at various retailers including grocery stores such as HEB and Kroger.

Photos credited to each respective producer.


Bold Rock Launches Hard Seltzer

The makers of Bold Rock Hard Cider released Bold Rock Hard Seltzer, a new all-natural line of hard seltzer products crafted from real fruit and fresh Blue Ridge Mountain water. The first two handcrafted styles to launch were Grapefruit and Cucumber Melon.

Grapefruit is highlighted by a pleasant zest of citrus while Cucumber Melon combines a juicy burst of melon balanced by crisp cucumber notes. Bold Rock Hard Seltzer features a near industry-leading 82 calories and one gram of sugar per 12-ounce serving while preserving a clean and inviting taste profile. The hard seltzers are also gluten free and alcohol by volume is a sessionable 4%.

Bold Rock co-founder Brian Shanks explains, “Nearly a year of research and development led our liquids team to an innovative approach that allows for significant breakthroughs in quality and taste. Alcohol from real fruit and all-natural ingredients form the foundation of Bold Rock Hard Seltzer while our process imparts a perfect finish to each sip. We can’t wait to share this line of refreshment with both new friends and old as we launch into the rapidly expanding hard seltzer category.”

Bold Rock Hard Seltzer Grapefruit and Cucumber Melon hit stores on June 10 in Virginia and Western North Carolina but its on tap in other select markets prior to the package release. Each style is initially available in 12-ounce six-packs and on draft while Grapefruit will also be available in single-serve 16-ounce cans. Visit BoldRock.com to learn more about Bold Rock Hard Cider and Bold Rock Hard Seltzer. Photos provided by Bold Rock.


Heavy Seas Beer Launches E.Krispers Cider

Baltimore-based independent brewery, Heavy Seas Beer (Clipper City Imports, a division of Clipper City Brewing LP), of Maryland, announced the launch of E.Krispers Cider.

E.Krispers Cider is a 5% ABV traditional English cider crafted from 100% cider apples. Thirty-four different varieties of apples were blended together to give this cider it’s refreshing taste. E.Krispers has a unique bittersweet flavor that’s fruit-focused, crisp and balanced with a classic finish.

The folks at Heavy Seas believe in order to make great cider, you must use cider apples. To make the best cider, you must go directly to the source where traditional cider apples are readily available. Therefore, the E.Krispers makers decided to produce the cider in Devon, England under the supervision of cider maker Barny Butterfield, owner and cider maker of Sandford Orchards. This decision was to ensure access to the traditional cider apple varietals that are not readily available in the United States.

“To grow the cider market in the US, we saw the need for a brand that will have the quality of cider made from 100% cider apples. Cider apples have the attributes of sweetness, acidity and tannin needed to produce great, nuanced cider. E.Krispers is made from those apples,” said Butterfield.

“It is exciting to see how much progress has been made to grow demand for cider in America,” said Dan Kopman, Heavy Seas Beer CEO. “To add fuel to the fire, we needed to establish a new price point that reflects both the quality and approachability of cider as an alternative to other alcoholic beverages. We are targeting price points at $8.99 per six-pack. This will attract new cider drinkers, critical to category growth.”

E.Krispers Cider was born from a collaboration between Butterfield and Kopman. For additional information, visit EKrispers.com. Photos provided by Heavy Seas Beer.


First Craft Cidery in City of Alexandria Opens

Governor Ralph Northam announced in May that Lost Boy Cider would invest more than $668,000 to renovate a nearly 6,000-square-foot warehouse space for a new hard cider production facility and tasting room in Alexandria, Virginia. The company stated then that it would produce a variety of traditional and innovative hard ciders, sourcing 100% of its apples from Virginia. With several apple trees on site, Lost Boy Cider would become the City’s first Virginia Farm Winery-licensed production facility, creating an exciting new amenity for residents and tourists seeking an authentic Virginia craft beverage experience.

This month, Lost Boy Cider delivered. The grand opening of the tasting room located at 317 Hoofs Run Drive in Alexandria, Virginia, was the weekend of June 8-9. On tap, one can find five or more ciders. To eat, there’s always a food truck. Plus, visitors can often listen to live music; and for those with kids, there’s even a play area.

“The arrival of Lost Boy Cider in the City of Alexandria will help strengthen Virginia’s reputation as a top destination for artisanal cider and build on the tremendous growth and momentum of our craft beverage industry,” said Governor Northam “This investment from Lost Boy Cider, and their commitment to sourcing Virginia’s apples that make ciders so distinctive, is a reflection of the economic impact that our agricultural and tourism sectors can have in cities as well as rural parts of the Commonwealth.”

“[This] announcement demonstrates the close ties between Virginia’s urban and rural regions made possible by our strong agricultural industry,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring “I am excited to partner with the City of Alexandria through the AFID program to help Lost Boy Cider establish a new market for Virginia apples and create a tangible, tasteable connection to Virginia agriculture in the heart of Northern Virginia.”

“My wife Katie and I have spent nearly three years preparing for this project launch,” said Tristan Wright, Founder of Lost Boy Cider. “It has been incredibly rewarding to have the support of the community, the City of Alexandria, and the State of Virginia. We have developed an exclusive blend of Virginia orchard-based apple juice with local cultivators and plan to apply the funding we received through the AFID program towards building stronger relationships with Virginia-based growers. As stewards of a long-standing Virginia tradition of hard cider, we cannot thank the City and State enough for their support. Wassail!!!”

The Commonwealth partnered with the City of Alexandria and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS). Governor Northam approved a $30,000 grant from the AFID Fund to secure the project for Virginia, which the City of Alexandria matched with local funds.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lost Boy Cider to Alexandria, and we are pleased to work with the Commonwealth of Virginia to support another innovative entrepreneur,” said Mayor Justin Wilson. “Lost Boy is a delicious addition to the incredible variety of food and beverage businesses that help Alexandria’s economy thrive. We look forward to helping Lost Boy grow and prosper in Alexandria.”

“We are so excited to be able to officially welcome Lost Boy Cider to our growing brewing community here in Alexandria,” said Stephanie Landrum, President and CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership “The AEDP team has been working with the cidery founder and the Commonwealth for almost a year to facilitate the successful application for the AFID Program grant that helped make this entrepreneur’s dream a reality. Lost Boy Cider joins a strong community of small and locally-owned businesses in Alexandria, and will be a great addition to the Carlyle neighborhood.”

“I am very pleased that Lost Boy Cider has chosen to set down their roots among the vibrant community of small businesses that call Alexandria and the 30th Senate District home,” said Senator Adam Ebbin. “Their arrival demonstrates the value in cultivating entrepreneurship through strategic partnerships at the state and local level to bring to bear the best Virginia has to offer.”

“Like most Alexandrians, I revere the history of our 270-year-old city,” said Delegate Mark Levine “So it’s thrilling to know that cider made from 100 percent Virginia apples is once again made right here, just as prominent Alexandrians like George Washington produced three centuries ago and drank in our taverns. I’m confident this productive partnership among the Commonwealth, the City, and Lost Boy Cider will boost Alexandria’s already substantial flair for both history and fine restaurants, improve the growing Carlyle neighborhood, and give tourists and locals yet one more reason to visit and love our city.”

Follow Lost Boy Cider on Facebook for updates and check out their website LostBoyCider.com to learn more. Photos courtesy of Lost Boy Cider.


Stovepipe Cans Have Growing Popularity Amongst Cider Makers

Stovepipe cans have been growing in popularity in both the craft beer and craft cider spaces since the 19.2-ounce size provides a more convenient single-serve package format for consumers to grab and go. Here's three cider producers who have added the larger format to their packaging offerings recently:

Common Cider Company, an auburn, California, company, launched their Blood Orange Tangerine and Blackberry Sangria ciders in tall cans first with more flavors coming later this summer. “Our additional packaging format is trending with other craft beverages. Form, function and consumer price are attractive as we head into the summer months,” said Fran Toves, CEO of Common Cider. Keep an eye out for the other tall can releases by visiting CommonCider.Com.

Portland Cider Company made the decision to honor the proper pint, typically a 20-ounce cider served in an imperial pint glass in the United Kingdom, by releasing half a dozen of its most popular ciders in 19.2-ounce cans. The products available in the new size include Portland Cider’s two original flagships, Kinda Dry and Sorta Sweet; its fruity Sangria, made with seven different Northwest-grown fruits; Hop’ Rageous, featuring Citra and Amarillo hops; Concord Grape, the company’s popular winter seasonal which is now available year-round; and Pineapple Rosé, the cidery’s current seasonal that’s bursting with juicy, fresh pineapples and a touch of Oregon blueberry juice.

“Portland Cider is an English cider company at our core,” explained co-owner of Portland Cider Lynda Parrish, who grew up in the Somerset region of the United Kingdom. “So offering our customers a proper pint of proper cider made a lot of sense.”

“Who doesn’t like more?” added co-owner Jeff Parrish. “This is the most exciting release we’ve made at Portland Cider in awhile. Once Lynda and I realized that 19.2 US fluid ounces is a proper English pint, we decided we were going all in with this awesome package, offering our cider fans a proper pint they can take anywhere!”

The new 19.2-ounce cans are available now at grocery and convenience retailers throughout the Northwest. Consumers can explore the Cider Finder on PortlandCider.com to locate retailers in Oregon, Washington and Northern California.

Golden State Cider has been offering 19.2-ounce cans of their Mighty Dry and Gingergrass, but is now offering their new year-round Hamaica cider in the large format, as well. The key influence for the creation of this cider comes from the popular Mexican and Central American tradition of hibiscus agua fresca (also known as sun teas). In Hamaica, Golden State strives to recreate this vibrant taste from their perspective of apple driven dry ciders made with real ingredients. The naturally pink cider is made with 100% fresh pressed apples, champagne yeast, and tropical hibiscus flowers, which create fragrant aromas that lead to fresh berry flavors and a tart, round finish.

“We hope that Hamaica will expand the cider category across California,” says CEO of Golden State Cider, Chris Lacey. “We released our original test batch last summer as a draft-only offering and the reception was overwhelming, with some accounts finishing a keg in under one day.” Now, Hamaica can be enjoyed in the 19.2-ounce can offering, as well as 16-ounce cans, throughout California. Visit DrinkGoldenState.com for recipes and pairings for Hamaica.

Photos provided by respective cider companies.


Woodchuck® Hard Cider and Farnum Hill Cider Partner for a Special Brut

Woodchuck® Hard Cider announced the release of Odd Crush, a special brut, made in collaboration with Farnum Hill Ciders. The name "Odd Crush” points to the two company’s drastically different styles, which originally sparked the diverse new era in American hard ciders. In Vermont, Woodchuck paved the way for popular six-pack ciders, sold across the country. In New Hampshire, Farnum Hill opened a future for regional orchard ciders in wine-style bottles.

With Odd Crush both styles of cider making are combined. The cider has a bright, golden hue that is clear and brilliant. The aroma has fruity notes of peach, raspberry and citrus that lead to a clean finish, excellent with food.

“Odd Crush is a perfect combination of Woodchuck’s semi sweet ciders and Farnum Hill’s dry styles delivering a dry, complex yet very approachable style,” says Terry Hopper, Vermont Cider Company’s vice president of sales. “Woodchuck has always had an admiration for the work that Steve and his family have done to craft the wine bottle style varieties. We are excited to bring our two brands together in a way that really emphasizes both of our strengths as cider makers.”

Ben E. Calvi, general manager at Vermont Cider Company added, “This cider is special, with apples sourced from Woodchuck’s orchard partner Sunrise Orchards just down the road in Cornwall, and from Farnum Hill’s orchard in Lebanon. These apples were picked at their peak, crushed locally, and collaboratively fermented here at the cidery in Middlebury.”

Steve Wood, Farnum Hill owner said, “It’s fun and funny to be collaborating now, over twenty years after we started out at opposite ends of the cider spectrum.”

Available in select markets, including Vermont and New Hampshire starting in July, the dry, local, and unique, Odd Crush (5.4% ABV) will retail for $13.99 per 12-ounce four-pack can. It will also be available in 15.5-gallon kegs. Those who will be in Vermont for the 4th of July week can stop by the Vermont Cider House to purchase cans in person. Please visit Woodchuck.com for additional information on Vermont Cider Company’s latest Woodchuck offerings; or FarnumHill.com to learn more about their orchard-based cider making. Photos provided by Vermont Cider Company.


Eat This…

Drink That…

Hard Cider Macaroni & Cheese
Adapted from Bakeaholic Mama

Cider Nectar
Adapted from Cider Cocktails – Another Bite of the Apple by Darlene Hayes

Photo Credit: Laura of Tide & Thyme    

Photo Credit: Darlene Hayes for CIDERCRAFT Magazine