Hard Cider Newsletter


Original Sin Releases Unfiltered ‘Better for You’ Cider

Original Sin Hard Cider announced the release of Original Sin Cidre Libre, an unfiltered cider made with freshly-pressed New York apples. Cidre Libre contains just 100 calories and 2-grams of carbohydrates per 12-ounce can. The residual sweetness in this 100% natural cider comes directly from the freshly-pressed apples with no added sugar.

Cidre Libre’s high-quality apples, sourced primarily from Western New York, make it a noteworthy addition to the health and wellness drinks category, allowing health conscious consumers an opportunity to trade-up from low-calorie drinks made with added sugar, artificial flavors and colors. According to the research firm, Nielsen, recent data shows 50% of alcohol beverage drinkers consciously choose to reduce their overall alcohol intake. This number increases to 66% for alcohol drinkers between 21-34 years of age. More than ever, drinkers are keenly aware of what they are putting into their bodies and seek products made from real fruit and natural ingredients that are better for you.

“We believe Cidre Libre, is the start of a second wave of low-calorie drinks appealing to the health-conscious consumer. This second wave will consist of drinks that are not only low in alcohol, carbs and calories, but are also made from natural ingredients,” explained Gidon Coll, founder of Original Sin Cider. “The unfiltered nature of Cidre Libre, gives this cider a complexity missing in most low-calorie offerings.” Cidre Libre is a welcome alternative from hard seltzers. The beverage maintains integrity as a dry cider, has depth in character, and remains gluten-free.

Original Sin’s Cidre Libre will be packaged in a 12-ounce sleek can which bears a label designed by artist R.Black, featuring the slogan “liberation from carbs” at the top to highlight the low-carbohydrate beverage within the can. The name of the cider itself reinforces the point that the cider is revolutionary – being both low in carbohydrates and made of natural ingredients.

Although Original Sin is available in 30 states and Japan, Cidre Libre will be sold in 6-packs for the suggested retail price of $10.99 and have a limited launch in Maryland, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois and Colorado. For additional information visit, OrigSin.com.

Image Credit: R.Black for Original Sin Cider

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The Source Cider Launches to Offer Premium Juice and Custom Fermentation

Starting and growing a cidery is expensive, and The Source Cider – located in Wenatchee, Washington – is determined to change that. Similar to “custom crush” models now commonly found in wine, The Source Cider aims to reduce the barrier to entry and to growth for cideries across the country. Providing easy and affordable access to premium juice and custom fermentation, The Source hopes to help cideries invest in quality, rather than capital, while growing their brand. Founded by Caitlin Braam and Tim Larsen – who combined have been part of the cider industry for more than 20 years – the new juice and fermentation facility is scheduled to launch this summer, just in time for the 2020 harvest.

“Tanks alone can run a new cidery upwards of $80,000,” said Caitlin Braam, co-founder of The Source Cider. “Add in a press, time to secure apple contracts and building a skilled team, it can add up quickly, on top of being limited by the amount you can produce. By working with The Source, we can drastically reduce those costs and offer cideries unlimited growth potential with quality products.”

Considered the heart of apple country, The Source is centrally located in the Wenatchee Valley, home to more than 100 known varieties of apples with hundreds more growing wild, thanks to the area’s homesteading history. From popular culinary apples – commonly used as base ciders – to highly sought-after cider specific varieties, The Source works directly with local orchards to source high quality fruit at competitive prices. Offering flexible production capacity with small and large order volumes, clients will be able to work directly with the experienced team at The Source to create exactly what they need for their cidery, from base blends and single varietals, to custom blending and recipe matching. With pricing offered per tote or tanker, The Source will also work with clients to create volume and contract discounts for both juice and finished cider.

Featuring state-of-the-art equipment and a centrally located facility, The Source is able to press more than 14,000 pounds of apples per day, with current capacity rivaling the largest craft operations in the industry and plans for expansion in the coming years. With higher yields, consistent fermentations and extensive blending opportunities, The Source provides cideries with the opportunity to increase their brand’s production and quality at the same time, with prices that work, guaranteeing fast turnaround and scheduled deliveries to keep production and sales on schedule.

For more information and updates – including limited apple offerings and harvest updates, visit the website at TheSourceCider.com. On the website, you can also build a custom quote for order inquiries.

Photo Credit: The Source Cider

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Virtue Cider Releases Limited-Edition Cider to Benefit World Central Kitchen

Virtue Cider, a Michigan-based, solar-powered craft cidery, proudly announced its latest small batch cider, Rosalita, will benefit World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that uses the power of food to heal and strengthen communities in times of crisis and beyond.

Rosalita is a 6.9% dry rosé cider made from heirloom apples and rare Schaerbeek cherries, all grown on family farms within a 200-mile radius of Virtue Cider in Fennville, Michigan. The apples were pressed and fermented in Virtue’s cider houses, aged in French oak barrels, and aged a second time on the cherries to pick up a beautiful light hue, as well as just a hint of cherry in the nose. This cider is released exclusively to benefit World Central Kitchen, a non-profit founded by Chef José Andrés that provides fresh meals for communities affected by natural disasters or other crises, and also builds more sustainable food systems through its long-term programs. The majority of proceeds from the cider’s sales will be contributed to WCK.

“We first released this French oak barrel-aged rosé cider five years ago, and it was loved so much, selling out quickly,” said Gregory Hall, Virtue Cider founder. “What makes Rosalita so special is the fruit. Local farmer Peter Klein planted rare Schaerbeek cherry trees, known from their use in traditional Belgian Kriek beer, for us many years ago in South Haven (Michigan). To honor the tart Schaerbeeks, we made this lovely small batch in 750ml bottles, and it’s a bonus that we are able to have it support the great work of World Central Kitchen.”

Virtue Cider is located among miles of orchards and vineyards in Southwest Michigan’s Cider Coast. The company has been purpose-driven since its founding in 2011, from sourcing cider fruit from local family farms, to becoming solar powered in 2019, to contributing proceeds of cider sales to hospitality and service industry workers. The cidery also has a long history with chef collaborations, including Chris Cosentino of San Francisco, Jason French of Portland (Oregon), Edward Lee of Louisville, and Paul Kahan of Chicago. Rosalita’s launch and its charitable benefit are a natural extension of this story.

“World Central Kitchen and I, we are thankful to Greg and Virtue Cider for their support with this amazing new rosé cider Rosalita. I am originally from the Spanish apple-growing region of Asturias, so cider has always been near to my heart. I am happy to be sharing this love to help our work in feeding the people of America,” said José Andrés, chef and founder of World Central Kitchen.

Rosalita became available in 750ml bottles this month exclusively through Virtue Cider’s website. Priced accordingly to fundraise, a bottle is $100. Proceeds will be benefiting World Central Kitchen to continue its work of providing meals for communities affected by natural disasters or other crises. To purchase Rosalita, visit VirtueCider.com. Shipping is available in 36 states in the United States.

Photo Credit: Praytell Agency/Virtue Cider

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Snow Capped Cider Puts “Gold Rush” in a Can

This summer, Colorado apple grower and cider producer Snow Capped Cider, has followed up their exciting canned product launch with a highly anticipated, new, high-end cider offering – Snow Capped Cider Gold Rush.

Inspired by the Colorado Gold Rush, the cider was made using cider-only apples, estate-grown locally on the Western Slope of Colorado. Made from cider-specific apples grown in 109-year old orchards, Gold Rush is truly a high-end, special product. The Snow Capped Cider family has been cultivating these special apples for years, and as such are the only cidery or grower in Colorado with this volume of cider apples.

According to Snow Capped Cider, they are also the only cider company in the United States placing English and French cider varietals in a can and distributing this type of volume—most producers have to blend with heritage apples, and very few actually grow the fruit themselves. Growing the fruit themselves allows Snow Capped Cider to price the can competitively, the same as their main can line products, keeping this high-end product accessible for all.

Snow Capped Cider Owner Kari Williams said, “Cider apples are worth their weight in gold—they are some of the most sought-after apples with which to make proper cider, and they are not available to just anyone. We have been carefully cultivating our fruit for a century, and eight years ago added French and English cider-specific varietals for high-end cider. We’ve been testing and developing what works best in our terroir and elevation—we finally have matured enough apples to produce cider up to our high standards. These apples are not readily available to cider makers, and most orchards in the U.S. do not grow them. If they do, it’s a small amount. The varietals are from France and England, are estate-grown and sourced from one location. Rare! Like gold!”

Despite the difficult year for fruit growing due to the frost and for cider on-premise sales due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Snow Capped Cider was able to successfully bring Gold Rush to market. Fortunately, the company’s parent orchards were one of the only large-scale growers with fruit this year. Since they specialize in high-altitude growing (their orchards are located at 6,130 feet), they have an extremely high level of frost protection. This year, for example, they used 38,000 gallons of propane and 200 cords of wood per day to keep their fruit viable. The danger of hail still looms and the growers use hail netting as a preventative measure. However, Snow Capped Cider’s orchards are the only packing company in their area packing fruit for Colorado grocery stores.

Moreover, Snow Capped Cider is thankful that much of the work to be done at the cidery is outdoors and the facilities are not in a populated area of the Western Slope – so they have been able to keep their entire cider team intact while adhering to health and safety regulations throughout the pandemic. With the tasting room closed, the cider producer’s team focused efforts on fermenting and canning along with learning orchard work and helping with frost protection.

“Our team has been great— they have risen to the challenges we were facing and helped with frost protection, working all night for a few weeks. They helped plant 6,500 new apple trees, learned to graft cider apples, pruned, mowed and sprayed in the orchards. This time has really given our staff a foundation and a true look at all that what we do,” commented Williams.

Though Snow Capped Cider saw a slowdown in sales in their own territory (mountain towns like Telluride, Aspen, Crested Butte, Ouray, Ridgeway, etc.), their distribution to the rest of the state has remained mostly steady, with only a small decrease in volume. “The launch of cans in 2019 was well-timed, as many people will be picnicking and camping this summer due to travel restrictions. Now they can take Snow Capped Cider [and Gold Rush] along safely,” remarked Williams.

Gold Rush is made with a blend of Blanc Mollet, Ashmead’s Kernel, English Golden Russet, and Dabinett apples which deliver a brilliant golden hue – hence the name – and tantalizing ripe fruit character. The clean quintessential medium tannins only produced from English and French varietals boast complexity and a striking rich mouthfeel. Furthermore, the sweetness is found up front leading to an off-dry semi sparkling finish. Gold Rush is pressed and slow fermented with no added sugar. At 8% ABV, the cider is now available at retailers in Colorado statewide in 12-ounce can four-packs. Customers can also purchase the cider through Snow Capped Cider’s website: SnowCappedCider.com.

Photo Credit: Proof PR/Snow Capped Cider

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Cider Industry Veterans Team Up to Launch Yonder Cider

This month, Yonder Cider unveiled plans to release a new line of craft ciders, blending modern apples with traditional apples for ciders as balanced, bright and complex as the land they come from. Picked and pressed in Wenatchee, Washington – the heart of Apple Country – Yonder’s unique approach creates ciders that are more full-flavored and complex than traditional modern ciders, while still remaining affordable and wrapped in packaging that’s perfect for any occasion. Available beginning August 2020 in cans and on draft, Yonder Cider will be available for purchase in Washington state and online in an additional 40 states.

“The Wenatchee Valley is home to more than 100 known varieties of apples, growing in abundance between its rocky cliffs, making for not only a beautiful sight, but unlimited potential for cider,” said Caitlin Braam, founder and president of Yonder Cider. “The depth of flavors and character coming from these apples are what help set our ciders apart.”

Crafted using a blend of bittersweet cider apples and juicy culinary apples, Yonder creates ciders that are hardly simple and you can always count on being interesting. With a foundation of flavorful Fuji and Honeycrisp apples, a variety of cider apples – containing added tannins, acid and body – are blended in to create a beautifully bright and complex cider. The following products will be available for the launch:

Dry (6.5% ABV) – Bright, light and refreshing. This easy drinking cider is a blend of traditional and modern cider apple varieties with bright notes of citrus. Hints of orange and lime dance with flavors of tropical fruit, making this a very refreshing but hard to define cider. Apples: Fuji, Honeycrisp, Roxbury Russet, Ashmead’s Kernel, Wickson Crab
Semi Sweet (6.5% ABV) – Juicy, crisp and beautifully balanced. Bold tones of peaches and strawberries compete with the nuance of spice, bringing the best out of red fleshed and traditional cider apples. This stunning and complex blend will keep you coming back to pinpoint just what makes it so delicious. Apples: Fuji, Honeycrisp, Golden Russet, Dabinett, Various Red Fleshed Apples
Palisades (6.5% ABV) – The perfect mix of tangy and tart. This cider was inspired by a favorite cocktail at Seattle’s Oliver’s Twist. A blend of juicy culinary and old-world apple complexity meets bright and mouthwatering Pacific Northwest blackberries, all of which is supported by an herbal hint of sage. Apples: Fuji, Honeycrisp, Roxbury Russet, Dabinett, Various Red Fleshed Apples

Yonder Cider will also feature a selection of single varietal ciders available only on draft.

Founded by Caitlin Braam (President), Tim Larsen (Head Cidermaker) and Maddy Porter (Creative Director), Yonder Cider was born out of a true love for cider, both modern and traditional. With more than a decade of experience in each of their respective fields, the team at Yonder has spent the last nine months crafting the Yonder brand. Putting branding right alongside cidermaking in importance, Yonder Cider offers ciders as beautiful as the packaging it comes in, and through creative marketing, hopes to introduce an entirely new audience to the world of cider.

“We’re launching during an interesting time, and it’s forced us to get creative in how we market and promote our ciders,” added Braam. “Instead of the traditional tasting room, we’re opening a walk-up retail store. Instead of launch parties, we’re partnering with restaurants to pair our ciders with their to-go offerings. It’s not the norm and it pushes us to think outside the box, but that’s alright – it’s how we approach our brand anyway.”

Available in four packs of 16-ounce cans ($11.99) and on draft beginning August 7, Yonder Cider products will be available at Seattle-area bars, restaurants and grocery stores, as well as online through the Yonder Cider website. For more information and updates, visit Yonder Cider online at YonderCider.com.

Photo Credit: Yonder Cider

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2 Towns Ciderhouse Expands Offerings with Limited Release and Acquisition

2 Towns Ciderhouse excitedly announced their newest lime-ited release, Good Limes Roll, and welcomed the newly acquired Nectar Creek Meadery to the Forbidden Fruit LLC craft alcohol family. News of both comes just in time to spice up the dog days of a very non-traditional summer.

Good Limes Roll is crafted using fresh-pressed Northwest apples that are fermented with a white wine yeast to leave a clean, delicate flavor profile. That cider is then blended with Mexican key limes and organic blue agave nectar supplied from an organic processor in California that sustainably sources from growers in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. The result, with an exceptionally aromatic profile, is a balanced cider that lets the key lime and agave flavors and aromas shine through. One whiff and you suddenly find yourself lazily sitting in the shade of a hot, sandy beach with emerald waves leisurely rolling their way to shore. The profile is business up front and a party in the back, with a pop of sweet agave and apple flavor that cuts at the end to a deliciously sharp citrus tang. Truly every sip is like going on the vacation we all wish we were on right now.

“This super fresh limited release lime and agave cider came out just right!” said Dave Takush, Head Cidermaker, about this newest release. “Tons of lively fresh key lime juice is balanced by the smooth and subtle blue agave sweetness. It’s a real easy summer treat.”

Inspiration for the cider, came from margaritas which obviously makes the perfect cider cocktail. However, 2 Towns’ Content Marketing Manager, Madison Shirley, recommended that the cider be tried in a Paloma. She also suggested that customers try using the cider as a marinade for carnitas, which is a recommended food pairing.

Approximately 800bbls was produced of Good Limes Roll which allows the company to widely distribute the limited release to their entire distribution footprint including: Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, and Arizona. Customers can find the cider in 500 mL bottles and on draft – ½bbl and 1/6bbl kegs will be available to on-premise accounts.

2 Towns Ciderhouse added two meads to their portfolio of products this month too under the name, Nectar Creek. The brand, known for its award-winning and innovative session meads, had shut their doors in October 2019. However, as part of their new partnership, 2 Towns will be producing Nectar Creek’s mead in its facility in Corvallis, Oregon. Additionally, Nectar Creek’s Co-Founder, Phil Lorenz, has joined the team as brand manager.

“Phil and I have known each other since we were in preschool,” said Lee Larsen, 2 Towns’ Co-Founder & CEO. “We grew up in the Willamette Valley, and together learned not only how to appreciate good craft beverages, but how to make them as well. Both companies have had close relationships from the beginning, sharing production materials and packaging lines as we were just starting out. The opportunity to work together is a dream. We are extremely excited to make sure Nectar Creek keeps making awesome mead.”

The two craft beverage startups' histories have been closely tied since their founding, with Nectar Creek initially occupying 2 Towns' original production facility, which had been a former taxi garage outfitted with modest brewing equipment. With similar equipment needs and industry learning curves, the two companies often leaned on one another to thrive in the extremely competitive craft market. That spirit of collaboration is what eventually led to the recent acquisition.

"As competition within the alcohol industry increased, our business struggled as a result of many factors," said Phil Lorenz. "Despite having a beloved product with a loyal fanbase, we just couldn't make it work at our scale, and unfortunately had to close our doors at the end of 2019. Our communication with the 2 Towns' team continued through that challenging time, as they tried to help us find a way to make it work. Ultimately, we found a way to leverage the skills and equipment that 2 Towns has to revive the Nectar Creek brand and make mead again."

The much-loved meadery had a soft re-launch this month with two classic offerings: Top Bar (Coffee) and Nectarade (Lemon Lime). Both come in 500 mL bottles with an MSRP of $6.99 per bottle, and will be made available exclusively through 2 Towns’ Corvallis tap room and their local delivery program throughout the Willamette Valley. In August, an additional variety will be available: Cluster (Strawberry-Hibiscus). Each mead will then be sold in 6-packs of 375 mL cans for an MSRP of $13.99. A full-scale launch in 6-pack cans will take place starting in September 2020 through 2 Towns’ distribution network. Draft packaging in 1/2bbl and 1/6bbl kegs will also be available in the fall.

The recipes and flavor profiles will remain very familiar to die-hard fans but the ABV has increased to 8% for all the meads and the packaging design is getting a refresh.

“I am humbled to join 2 Towns as a team member,” said Phil Lorenz, “and I look forward to working with the great folks here to continue making mead. Nectar Creek was built by the hard work of many dedicated people and I cannot wait to keep the legacy going in a new environment.”

At this time the Nectar Creek tap room in Philomath will not be reopening, but the team is looking at possibilities for future endeavors. For more information on Nectar Creek mead, please visit NectarCreek.com. Check out 2TownsCiderhouse.com for the 2 Towns Ciderhouse portfolio of ciders.

Photo Credit: 2 Towns Ciderhouse

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Eat This…

Drink That…

Braised Cider Chicken with Herbs
From Margo Greenman via CIDERCRAFT Magazine

The Perfect Pair
From Virtue Cider

Photo Credit: Margo Greenman

Photo Credit: Praytell Agency/Virtue Cider