Hard Cider Newsletter

Tieton Cider Works’ Latest Release is a Summertime Refresher

Tieton Cider Works announced their latest triannual limited release, Hazy Strawberry, which combines the best of the Northwest in a bottle for summer. This is the first time Tieton is producing an exclusively strawberry cider. However, the cider producer is well-versed in working with fruit adjuncts since their cider makers have been making other fruit ciders such as Apricot, Cherry and Cranberry – always focusing on locally-sourced ingredients.

Marcus Roberts, General Manager and Cider Maker at Tieton Cider Works, commented, “I always want to be working as close to the farm as possible. For us, supporting local growers is very important since we are growers ourselves. Strawberries from the Northwest just seemed like a no-brainer when it came to making a summer seasonal.”

Hazy Strawberry is a blend of hand-picked juicy Northwest strawberries fused with fresh-pressed Yakima Valley cider for a vibrant ruby blush color which contains a semi-sweet profile of sweet strawberry upfront flavor and a tart apple finish having a residual sugar of 3.5%. It’s a summertime cider that truly captures sunshine in a bottle with a natural haze that accentuates the body and overall flavor at 6.9% ABV. Naturally gluten-free, this farm-grown cider, should be served chilled. Recommended pairings include smoky barbeque foods and fresh cheeses.

Tieton’s Hazy Strawberry will be available in 12-ounce cans and on draft in 1/2bbl and 1/6bbl kegs throughout the company’s current market footprint including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Northern California from May to August. Visit TietonCiderWorks.com to find additional information.

By: Kristyn Noren, Editor of Hard Cider News. Photo Credit: Ali Griffin for Tieton Cider Works


Cider Producers Find New Ways to Make Sales and Connect with Customers

With many state restrictions keeping consumers at home to stop the spread of COVID-19, cider companies are getting creative in ways to make sales and connect with customers while being safe and adhering to government edicts. You may already be aware that several state have loosened regulations to allow for take-out, local delivery and shipments of cider but here is a round-up of other avant-garde ways cider makers are partnering, supporting, and innovating during this health crisis.

In Dallastown, Pennsylvania, Wyndridge Farm is offering a Farm Store Drive-Thru craft beverage pick-up on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 1pm-6pm and Saturdays 11am-4pm for Wyndridge Cider, Wyndridge Vines and Winding Path Beer. Guests follow a specific drive thru path and stay in their cars while employees take their order, swipe for payment (credit cards help eliminate direct person to person contact) and load their vehicle.

Wyndridge also scheduled a three-day fundraiser, Cases for Causes, that sold-out in two days and raised $6,500. Customers had the opportunity to purchase select cases at $20-$30 with all proceeds being directly donated. The over 100 donations made benefitted the United Way of York County to support their COVID-19 Response Fund.

Finnriver Farm & Cidery has created the Incider Space to bring the farm community to its customers since they can’t go to the farm. The Incider Space is filled with events that take place on the video conferencing platform, Zoom. Events include educational lectures, musical performances, community conversations, and discussions with local artists, writers, activists and more. To participate in Incider Space events, customers make a sliding scale monthly membership contribution on Finnriver’s website and then gain access to the full Incider Space calendar with access links and passwords. Visit Finnriver.com for the calendar of events and to sign-up. Finnriver is also offering a series of “Live Music in the Living Room” concerts on Friday & Saturday evenings and a Cider Happy Hour via Finnriver’s Facebook Live.

Eden Specialty Ciders is working with Localvore Passport, a fantastic service that serves up the foods and beverages of wonderful (and local) growers and producers, and offers you great savings to purchase them online. Now more than ever, while many shelves are bare at larger grocers or you can’t get a delivery slot and restaurants are closed, supporting your nearby farmer or small business helps the local economy but also provides you fresh, quality food and beverages. Right now, you can use the code EDEN to save 50% on your annual passport with Localvore. Among all the great stuff, you will also find deals such as on Eden cider, including $50 off any purchase of $150 or more, or free shipping on any order of $50 or more. Localvore is only available in Vermont, Minnesota, Maine and Illinois currently but more locations throughout the United States are being added. Other cider makers on Localvore include: Co Cellars, Citizen Cider, Shacksbury Cider, Stowe Cider, Urban Farm Fermentory, and Number 12 Cider.

For the last month, Virtue Cider has been offering Virtue-al Classes which have included cooking workshops, DIY tutorials, cocktail recipe tutelage, and educational sessions, all containing cider, by industry pros and pioneers in addition to company staff. Most of the classes have been held on Zoom but a select few have also been posted as videos to the company’s YouTube page for those of you that missed them (or wish to look up archives). The next class is on Indoor Plant Propagation on April 22 at 6pm EST for Earth Day. Details for the class and future class announcements can be found on Virtue’s Facebook page. These classes are not only informative but entertaining. Participants can learn something new and interact with the cider community at the same time. Most classes that require materials (you’ll need cider to sip on) list so in advance so participants can plan accordingly.

Another unique Virtue offering are DIY kits for bread and charcuterie which Virtue has available through VinoShipper. Most of the classes have been held on Zoom but a select few have also been posted as videos to the company’s YouTube page for those of you that missed them (or wish to look up archives). Not only can you practice your baking and food styling skills, but you can stay-at-home with some delicious snacks and cider. VinoShipper ships Virtue cider and DIY kits to 39 states.

Virtue Cider is also offering CCSA (Cider- and Community-Supported Agriculture) boxes to support the local farming community in Fennville, Michigan. Although they are only available for pick-up to those local to the cidery on Fridays and Saturdays, fans can pre-order seasonally curated shares at VirtueCider.com. A weekly offering includes roughly a week’s worth of groceries and pantry staples for 2-4 people from local purveyors. There are options such as: a basic share plus protein, gluten-free share, or vegan share. However, all purchasers must be 21+ since cider is included in all shares. If you don’t want to commit to the CCSA though, local customers can also place orders online for cider and select pantry items for pick-up any day of the week (M-Sunday, 12pm-6pm).

You may know of cider tasting rooms that are also offering food for take-out/delivery and you have likely already had a food delivery, but in Washington, DC, Supreme Core Cider has teamed up with Sommer Street Pizza to offer DC home delivery of both for $20. The combo deal includes a 4-pack of cider and an 11” frozen pizza (cheese or pepperoni). With Americans stockpiling frozen pizza, that there is concern of a potential shortage, this is a great way to secure your frozen pizza for that upcoming virtual happy hour or late-night Netflix craving while also getting your cider fix. Sommer Street Pizza is a fellow DC company that makes lactose-free pizzas which are vacuum-sealed and frozen with a 13-minute prep time. These two companies are helping support each other and your purchase helps two small businesses instead of one. Those in DC, can purchase the combo deal online at OrderSupremeCoreCider.com.

Many have participated in some form of a virtual happy hour since many companies are offering them but Albemarle Ciderworks has been scheduling themed virtual tastings, some of which include limited releases of award-winning ciders and vertical tastings. You visit them online and purchase an event tasting pack which is then sent to you in time for the tasting held via Facebook Live. The next tasting is taking place on April 30th at 5pm EST. It’s an Albemarle Ciderworks vertical tasting of Red Hill 2015 and 2016, which is extra special since the 2016 was a silver medal winner at the prestigious Royal Bath & West Show in the United Kingdom and this vintage is only being made available for the virtual tasting event with cider maker Chuck Shelton. Additional virtual tastings are listed on the Albemarle Ciderworks website where you can also find instructions on how to purchase the tasting packs.

The Northwest Cider Association is also offering virtual happy hours for you to connect with cider makers. They are held every Thursday with a member cidery at 4pm PT via Zoom. It’s free to participate but registration is required. Each happy hour has a guided tasting that you can participate in which you can purchase the ciders for in advance. The list of upcoming virtual happy hours is available on the organization’s Facebook page. You can also watch past happy hours on YouTube.

Since most of the United States is unable to travel, it’s hard to fulfill any wanderlust. However, Blue Bee Cider is offering a series of virtual tours to celebrate their seventh anniversary. Each week, on Tuesday, a Blue Bee team member will give you a tour of a different facet of the cider business until the series is over. The first segment, Chapter One, debuted on April 20th from Blue Bee’s first employee, Brian Ahnmark, with a tour of the company’s Manchester, Virginia, location where the cidery first opened its doors on April 20, 2013. Chapter One and future segments of the virtual tour series will be available on Blue Bee’s Instagram page through IGTV.

Lastly, Original 13 Ciderworks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is trying to create some normalcy through quarantine by hosting Quizzo. The cidery typically hosts trivia from Quizzo on Wednesdays in their tasting room. With customers ordered to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19, Original 13 has partnered with Crowdpurr to make a quarantined version of Virtual Quizzo available to their followers. Every Wednesday and Sunday starting at 7pm sharp, for the duration of quarantine, you can participate in Quizzo. There’s also a cider toast at 6pm via Google Hangout, if you wish to join the group before. The link to join Quizzo as well as prizes and rules can be found on Original 13's website.

We know cider makers are revolutionary – that’s how cider had a rebirth in America. The above list is a sampling of creative ways in which cider companies are doing business. Find cideries in your area to see how they are staying in touch with you and what they are doing to keep cider flowing. Many are also participating in admirable social causes.

Compiled By: Kristyn Noren, Editor of Hard Cider News. Photo credit: Wyndridge Cider (article photo of drive thru); each respective cider company/organization


Portland Cider Introduces Ciderade in the Small Batch Series

Portland Cider Co. has announced the release of Ciderade as the newest product in its small batch series. Ciderade is a refreshing cider made with 100% Northwest apples brightened with freshly squeezed lemons and limes. It also replenishes with electrolytes sourced from sea salt harvested in Netarts Bay along the Oregon Coast by Jacobsen Salt Co.

Jeff Parrish, co-owner of Portland Cider Co. and husband to a British expat, explained that Ciderade evolved from his enjoyment of drinking cider during the hottest days of summer.

“In England, cider is often drunk over ice when it's really warm outside. It lightens it up, reduces the overall ABV, and makes it even more refreshing when you're really looking to hydrate,” explained Parrish. “There's nothing better to quench the thirst while doing yard work. But hydrating with a 7% cider in the heat of summer may not be the most effective way to mow the lawn. Ciderade is the perfect refreshing cider with its lower ABV, real citrus juice, and essential electrolytes."

Ciderade is a light, low-carb cider, coming in at just 96 calories, 3.5 grams of sugar and carbs, and 4% ABV per 12-ounce serving. Light, citrusy, refreshing and tangy, Ciderade pairs well with lemon pepper grilled chicken, chipotle lime avocado salad, mozzarella cheese and Mediterranean salad––and lawn mowing!

A limited cider release, Ciderade promises to keep consumers cool, dry and refreshed this summer. The cider is available in 19.2-ounce “proper pint” cans and on draft to distributors throughout Oregon, Washington, Northern Idaho, and Northern California. It is currently available to-go at the company’s two taprooms in the Portland area. Learn more at PortlandCider.com.

Photo Credit: Portland Cider Co.


Swift Cider Opens Taproom in Portland

Although Swift Cider launched in 2015, the company had the grand opening of their first taproom last month located in the newly renovated General Industry building at 100 NE Farragut Street, #101, Portland, Oregon. The brand is one of Portland’s leading distributed cider producers available in Oregon, Washington and Idaho; but having a taproom gives them a home for their customers to visit and a retail space to sell their own ciders.

“Opening the taproom means drinkers can taste the dozens of seasonal and small-batch, barrel-aged ciders that we release in limited quantities each year,” says founder and head cider maker Aidan Currie.

From their twelve taps, Swift will pour a rotating lineup of their own ciders alongside craft beer, wine, guest cider taps, hard seltzer, kombucha, water kefir and CBD soda. “Our local neighborhood, Piedmont, was founded by prohibitionists, so there has historically been a limited number of bars here. We created a community space where you can appreciate great cider and all types of fermented beverages,” explained Currie.

The 500 square foot taproom seats 39 in a warm industrial space notable for its timbers-trussed ceiling, stainless tanks, oak barrels, warm lighting, local art, and greenery. A discreet projector screens local sports while a shuffleboard table and stack of board games invites patrons to play. Plans are in the works to add patio seating by summertime. To complement the drinks, Swift stocks a regular menu of snackable, allergen-friendly bites and plans to run pop-up food nights to showcase their favorite cider pairings.

Swift Cider has a mission to make exceptional cider with fresh, whole ingredients and inspire playful, creative communities like their namesake the Chapman Swifts. Their ciders have earned significant acclaim at the world’s largest cider competitions with 21 medals, including the Best Medium Cidery of the Year at the Portland International Cider Cup. Their normal taproom hours run Thursday and Friday from 4pm to 9pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 9pm. However, the cidery had to close the taproom due to the statewide closure of bars in the interest of public health. Until further notice, Swift Cider is offering weekly to-go orders available for pick-up curbside at their tasting room on Fridays from 4pm-7pm and Saturdays from 12pm-3pm. You can order cider (in growlers, cans and bottles), beer, kombucha or even chocolate for your sweet tooth. They are also offering delivery within a 3-mile radius of the taproom. Visit SwiftCider.com to order cider to-go in the Portland, Oregon area.

Photo Credit: Swift Cider


Cidercraft Magazine Launches Cider Locator

During this time of pandemic, Cidercraft Magazine has been supporting cider producers and retailers around the country with updates, distributing new information and, now, good news.

As the first and only print publication dedicated to hard cider, Cidercraft is thrilled to announce a partnership with NearestYou, an online directory platform, to build out a global Cider Locator. This user-friendly and intuitive index shows consumers where and how to find cider nearest them, launching first with producers within the United States and Canada.

"This is a vital tool, now more than ever, in supporting the businesses in your backyard,” says Kristin Ackerman Bacon, Cidercraft publisher. “We've been working on the Cider Locator for sometime now and chose to work with NearestYou because they have a legitimate background in technology and also an understanding of the cider industry, and the need for consumer connection right now.”

A natural collaboration, NearestYou CEO Ryan Furness is a subscriber of the magazine and reached out to team up.

"Our partnership with Cidercraft fits perfectly within our mission to increase consumer awareness of all the great cideries across the world,” Furness says. “This new cidery finder is a great resource, locating the best cideries nearest to wherever the cider enthusiast finds themself.”

Found at CidercraftMag.com/Locator, Cidercraft’s Cider Locator is now available on desktop and mobile, connecting the consumer with cideries near them by syncing to the location services or by searching an address or zip code. The locator is optimized for both Android and iOS systems, in which users have the option to search a radius of 1 to 1,000 miles, or all locations. It also provides the option to call the business, as well as route to the location through the user’s mapping app of choice, Google Maps or Apple Maps.

Photo Credit: Roland Denes via Unsplash (article photo of road); Luke Porter via Unsplash (photo within article of woman)


New Cider Company Opens in California with Apple-ing Reviews

Fresh off a victory for "Best Drink" at the SLO Craft Beer Fest 2020, SLO Cider is now spreading the love to San Luis Obispo, California, with public distribution of their hard ciders. The cider company held its grand opening last month with the launch of four styles – Dry, Hopped, Rosé and Tropical – hitting markets this Spring in 16-ounce cans, 4-packs and 24-packs, as well as draft at local markets and restaurants.

The company consists of Nate Adamski (Operations), Jeremy Fleming (Cider Maker) and Pete Ayer (Marketing) – a unique blend of three different backgrounds to create a promising and harmonious blend of hard cider and positive vibes.

Adamski, who’s been in the cider industry for over six years, initiated the creation of SLO Cider and its team. "Once Pete, Jeremy and myself were in the same room discussing our love for cider, the magic started to happen," stated Adamski. "We all have a different approach to the cider industry, so blending our experiences and goals has really aided a solid business plan and lucrative approach to the cider industry."

"The flavors we are releasing [this Spring] have been in development for over a year with the idea of crafting a beverage for new cider drinkers, experienced cider connoisseurs, and/or the generally adventurous cider drinker," Fleming explained. He's the engineer who’s been designing, building, and manufacturing processes related to breweries and beverage crafters for over eight years. "I took a semi-traditional approach to our cider making and added some modern practices to craft a cider that I am proud of and can stand behind. I've really tried to listen to people's critiques of hard cider in general, and in return I've been able to craft products that encompass my education and intuition, as well as the feedback of our local cider drinkers."

This month, the cidery already released a new cider called Off Shore which is an off-dry cider crafted with apples grown in the canyons of Avila Beach, California, available in 16.9-ounce bottles.

Their branding, crafted by Ayer, is provocative to the eye with 1970's visuals and consistent design aesthetics throughout the creative. "I wanted to create a brand that was timeless and felt old school yet brand new. I was heavily influenced by the 70's era when I was a kid, and went back to my roots to keep the vibes going throughout our brand messaging and overall appearance. We're super excited to be producing a vibe that represents the locals of SLO, and speaks to the travelers and those who love our little town."

SLO Cider is a small business truly meant for the local community, even though the cidery is only a month old. Just as the doors opened on the new company, they had to temporarily close due to health concerns with the coronavirus.

“We had a fantastic turnout at our grand opening,” said Ayer. “It was sad to have to shut our doors so soon, but we are here for the long haul. The San Luis Obispo community is important to us and we want to help in what small ways we can,” he added.

The company knows their locals already and identified a need. The team decided to commit to donating 50% of their total sales, up to $5,000, from March 30th to April 5th to the San Luis Obispo Food Bank. Customers could purchase cider and/or merchandise from the company’s website and opt for free pick-up or have it shipped to their door in California.

“With schools being shut down and workers being let go, a lot of our neighbors are relying on the services the Food Bank provides,” explained Adamski. “We want to help the Food Bank receive what’s necessary to keep their staff safe.” The Food Bank is currently asking for monetary donations as well as healthy volunteers. They ask to not donate food at this time to avoid non-essential travel.

Find SLO Cider online at SLOCiderCo.com or visit them at their tasting room located at 3419 Roberto Ct., Suite C, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 when they re-open again.

Photo Credit: Robbie Bruzus (article photo of glass); SLO Cider (photos within article)


Eat This…

Drink That…

Cazuela de Chorizos à la Sidra
From Jill Lightner via Cidercraft Magazine

Cider Peach Smash
From Cider Culture

Photo Credit: Brittany Carvalho

Photo Credit: Cider Culture