Hard Cider Newsletter

Austin Eastciders Expands to Heart of Austin with New Tap Room and Restaurant

Austin Eastciders is leaning into their Austin, Texas, roots by opening their second tap room and first restaurant in the Austin area. The tap room will open in the space formerly occupied by Uncle Billy’s Smokehouse on Barton Springs Road leading to the city’s most visited attraction, Zilker Park. This quintessential Austin neighborhood is central to the city, home to Austin City Limit’s Music Festival, well-known for the Barton Springs Pool and more!

Austin Eastciders Barton Springs is a major milestone for our team in our pursuit to introduce more and more people to the world of craft cider. We are an Austin brand to our core, having a second location in our hometown means we can connect with more Austinites and visitors as well,” says Brad McKeever, President of Austin Eastciders.

The new Austin Eastciders Barton Springs will feature the brand’s easy-to-drink and meticulously crafted ciders, as well as wine, cocktails, coffees, limited-edition small-batch ciders (fermented on-site) and a full menu of snacks and meals for every day.

Dave Rule, Vice President of Marketing at Austin Eastciders noted, “We are thrilled to join the Zilker neighborhood and bring the full Austin Eastciders brand to life at an iconic location in downtown, Austin. In the spirit of collaboration, we are assembling a team that will deliver a uniquely-Austin experience featuring a robust menu of craveable food and beverages with special focus on the Austin Eastciders portfolio of ciders.” Consulting for Austin Eastciders will be Chef Page Pressley of the recently launched Foxtail Supper Club and Ben Cachila who has consulted for the likes of Whole Foods, Uchi Group Development, and Old Thousand. Chef Pressley has developed a menu that features cider brined cured meats, pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and other sharables that deliciously pair with Austin Eastciders. Local tap operator Harlan Scott joined in August as a consultant, guiding operations including the recruitment of the culinary team – a fully stacked team to create the ultimate casual experience for all.

With access to 120 parking spots behind the venue, Austin Eastciders Barton Springs is an energetic indoor/outdoor tasting and dining experience. Upon entry into the 2,500 square foot front-of-house space inside the building, a full bar, food order counter, and a second AM-focused bar greet you with pop-up merchandise displays and highlights of local collaborations, such as Katie Kime. This will include custom wallpapers, murals, and exclusive Katie Kime for Austin Eastciders merchandise available for purchase on-site. As you meander further into the space, seating areas and a performance area fill the main dining room with a view into the cider-making operation showing off three 10-barrel fermenters. The brand worked with OPA Design Studio to retrofit the space. Interior surfaces include stained ash and concrete with interior design elements from Lilianne Steckel. The space boasts a spacious contemporary open plan. The outdoor area, which highlights a cider garden viewable from Barton Springs Road, will have a stage, a small play area for kids, and a cider and coffee window which will make beverages from a full espresso bar with high quality beans from Cuvée Coffee.

Opening this Summer at 1530 Barton Springs Road in Austin, Texas, Austin Eastciders Barton Springs will be open from morning till night. The current Collaboratory in East Austin will remain open as the brand’s culture beacon on the East Side.

For the latest on Austin Eastciders, follow them on social media at @Eastciders or visit them online at AustinEastciders.com.

Photo Credit: Julia Keim for Austin Eastciders


Stormalong Cider Releases Heirloom Apple Variety 4-Pack as Part of Rare Apple Series

Stormalong Cider, a Massachusetts-based cidery, announced the release of a new Heirloom Variety 4-Pack as part of the company’s Rare Apple Series. The variety pack includes a mix of four distinct, dry ciders made with New England Heirloom apples all packaged in 16-ounce cans.

The mission of the Rare Apple Series is to highlight the extraordinary virtues of cider-oriented, heirloom apples and their exquisite transformation into distinguished cider. The apples used in these ciders were all grown in New England on small orchards and then carefully fermented, aged and blended into the small batches created for the sampler. Each of the four blends showcase the unique aromas and flavors that true cider apples can bring to the table.

The four ciders in the first variety pack include:

Yarlington Mill - Made with a blend of Yarlington Mill, Kingston Black and Wickson apples, this cider has a rich, tannic structure from the bittersweet and bittersharp apples used in the blend. The tannins combine with an aged, caramel-like acidity and slightly mineral character.

Ashmead’s Kernel - Made with a blend of Ashmead’s Kernel, Roxbury Russet and Knobbed Russet apples, this cider has a distinctive rich flavor that is well-balanced with tart and tangy acidity, and the cider highlights the fruit with fewer tannins.

Winesap – A single varietal cider made with 100% Stayman Winesap apples. It’s crisp and fruit forward with notes of strawberry and jam-like fruit.

Esopus Spitzenburg - Made with a blend of Esopus Spitzenburg, Calville Blanc D'Hiver and Chisel Jersey apples, this cider has a rich, well-rounded acidity with a complex layered finish. Along with the Yarlington Mill blend, this cider also highlights tannins and astringency.

“The seemingly unlimited potential in the thousands of apple varieties was something that fascinated me about cider right out of the gate,” said Shannon Edgar, Founder of Stormalong Cider. “Fortunately, in New England, we still have a significant amount of ‘heirloom’ or sometimes called ‘antique’ apple varieties still in the ground. We’re rediscovering and just scratching the surface in the United States on the history of cider and apples, with some varieties originating as early as the 1600’s. Just like wine and famous grape varieties, cider can yield impressive results when made with unique apples grown with high levels of acidity, sugar, and tannins. One of cider’s biggest challenges is educating consumers about these possibilities and elevating the perception. This is one of the goals of the variety pack and we’re excited for people to experience all the different blends.”

The limited Heirloom Variety 4-pack will be available in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. For more information, visit Stormalong.com.

Photo Credit: Stormalong Cider


Noble Cider Unveils New Packaging Format

Asheville (NC)-based Noble Cider announced that they will be switching from glass bottles to 12-ounce aluminum cans as their primary packaging format. Noble will also be taking this opportunity to update label designs across their whole brand.

Consumers favor aluminum cans for many reasons. “Cans go everywhere,” says Lief Stevens, Production Manager and Co-founder of Noble. “They are easier to carry around for outdoor activities, for being near water, and are safer for rooftop bars.” From a production standpoint, cans are faster to pack and require less space for packaging materials and finished goods. As Noble expands to new markets, cans also weigh less and are cheaper to ship long distances.

The new canning line will be installed in their production facility at 356 New Leicester Highway, Asheville, North Carolina. The first product to receive the new packaging format is The Blue Bard cider, their Spring seasonal blueberry cider with honey and rosemary, which was released on March 24th.

“We are excited to unveil our brighter label designs as well,” says Trevor Baker, Co-founder and Marketing Director. “The white background makes our iconic character images really pop!”

Consumers can expect to see all of their favorite year-round ciders, seasonal ciders, cider spritzers, and session meads in 4-pack 12-ounce cans on shelves by late Spring. Visit NobleCider.com to place an order for taproom pick-up, local delivery and shipping to your door through Vino Shipper.

Photo Credit: Noble Cider


Bad Granny Cider Kicks-off Spring with Three New Products

Bad Granny Cider, a family-owned and-operated Washington cidery, recently released three new products into its award-winning line of locally-made cider: Nice Pear, Ginger Lime and Mother Load. Based in the fruit belt of Chelan, Washington, and personified by a mischievous and playful matriarch, Bad Granny produces serious ciders that showcase local fruit, traditional techniques and novel innovation.

The Nice Pear (5.5% ABV) is a true perry, the delicate pear-based cousin to cider, exclusively made with Washington-grown D’Anjou pears. The semi-dry profile reveals notes of freshly sliced pear, ripe persimmon and a hint of watermelon.

The Ginger Lime (6.8% ABV) cider was only available to restaurants previously but after a smash success on-premise, Bad Granny did good by canning the cider in 12-ounce six-packs for retail. In this cider, ginger and lime are blended with Honeycrisp apples for a perfect, semi-dry balance of citrus zest, sassy spice and succulent apple.

The Mother Load isn’t as much of as cider as it is a variety pack of cider. It takes three of Bad Granny’s best-selling ciders — Honey Crisp, Black Currant and Ginger Lime — and combines them in a singular, six-pack box. Granny’s Mother Load gives and gives and gives, as mothers do; the multi-pack not only offers three different flavors of cider in one package but a portion of the proceeds gives back to the Alzheimer’s Fund.

All three releases will be available online at BadGrannyCider.com and at major retailers, bottle shops and restaurants across, Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

Photo Credit: Bad Granny Cider


Golden State Cider’s Mellow Green Gives Back

Golden State Cider announced the release of their new core cider, Mellow Green, earlier this year. Made of 100% fresh-pressed West Coast apples, Mellow Green is a champagne-like cider that is lightly hopped to impart a bright, citrus tang. With just seven grams of sugar per 16-ounces, it is dry and balanced.

Mellow Green is inspired by Golden State Cider’s California roots. From oceans to mountains, lakes and deserts, the landscape covering the golden state is diverse, alluring and awe-inspiring. It is this ethos that drove the creation of this ripe, aromatic cider. “Mellow Green is completely unique and truly rounds out our year-round core cider offerings. The initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we could not be more excited [for this release],” exclaimed Chris Lacey, CEO of Golden State Cider.

Golden State Cider remains committed to investing in initiatives they believe in across California. Therefore, a portion of Mellow Green proceeds will be donated directly to two National Parks within the state. All sales in Northern California will benefit Redwood National State Park conservation efforts. All sales in Southern California will benefit Joshua Tree National Park conservation efforts – perfectly timed for National Parks Week and Earth Day, both of which were held in April. “These are iconic parks that have provided memorable experiences for millions of people. We want to ensure many more millions get to experience them,” said Lacey.

Golden State Cider envisions Mellow Green as a part of adventure and exploration in all forms. With a refreshing structure, this cider is the perfect stand-alone accessory to any trip outdoors. Food pairings range widely with ideas like barbeque, vegetarian and truffle dishes. Mellow Green is 6.3% alcohol by volume and sold in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans, 19.2-ounce single-serve cans and draft (1/6bbl and 1/2bbl kegs). Crafted with 100% fresh-pressed West Coast apples, this cider is gluten-free, vegan friendly and low in carbs (11g). To learn more about Mellow Green and other Golden State Cider products, visit DrinkGoldenState.com.

Photo Credit: Golden State Cider


Snowdrift Cider Adapts Amidst Struggle

The COVID-19 pandemic crashed upon the world with destruction in its wake, impacting nearly everyone. Yet where destruction brings pain and toil, life continues its march with new strength, resilience, and creativity.

“Our business dropped by over 90% overnight,” states Tim Larsen, Cidermaker at Snowdrift Cider Co., regarding the limitations placed on businesses in Washington State. “We kept our employees working as long as we possibly could, but did have to furlough our entire staff ... it was a heart-wrenching decision to make.”

But pain has a way of focusing attention, and Tim and the owners, like so many, have poured time and energy into taking a hard look at what they have to work with, uncovering new strategies to move forward—and finding opportunities to help those also struggling – like the restaurant industry, which was devastated, had to furlough thousands of employees, and quickly scramble to offer delivery and takeout services.

For some, the pivot has turned into a positive. Zeeks Pizza is a partner restaurant in the Hero Meals program, which delivers fresh meals to front-line workers, donated by supportive community members in Washington State. Tommy Brooks, Director of Business Development at Zeeks Pizza, reported another positive shift; thanks to his team’s creativity, their draft beer and cider sales have increased during this time due to growlers sold to-go to many who previously would have enjoyed their evenings in bars.

This move has been good for Zeeks’ business—and it also trickles down to the company’s suppliers, such as Larsen’s cider company. In a time when demand has dried up elsewhere, an opportunity has opened up for Snowdrift to make a community-minded move and release cider that otherwise would not have sold during this time. As a result, the company is opening up their 2019 apple reserves—at cost—to give restaurants an authentic, affordable, new cider offering that delivers a special experience from their orchard. This limited release is designed to meet the needs of struggling consumers and retailers alike by providing an unparalleled cider at an everyday price.

“The goal is to have something exciting out, to draw people out to support restaurants (even if it’s takeout) so they’re purchase can get more employees working again,” says Larsen. As Snowdrift stands in support of restaurants, they’ve named this cider Solidarity. “We don’t have a whole lot to offer at this point, but we do have cider – and we’re sharing that!”

Solidarity has a flavor profile that is a beautiful, reflective cross-section of the Snowdrift orchard in 2019. It is a unique blend primarily of Dabinett, Muscadet de Dieppe and Elstar apples which provide a fruit forward, rich and easy drinking semi-dry cider – carrying hints of apple blossoms in spring on the nose and rich summer fruits on the palate. The cider will be priced well-below standard pricing for farm to table cider such as those Snowdrift typically offers. Customers can expect a pint of Solidarity to cost the same as a pint of craft beer. Since on-premise accounts are primarily selling growlers to-go due to government restrictions, the limited release cider will be exclusively available by keg in Washington State. However, Snowdrift may expand the release of the cider outside of Washington State depending on how the program is received and the rate of interest.

Learn more about Snowdrift Cider by visiting SnowdriftCider.com.

Photo Credit: Lars Ringsrud, Field & Compass for Snowdrift Cider


Eat This…

Drink That…

Simple Slow-Cooker Cider Chicken Tacos From Dish Works via Cider Culture

Pear Jalapeño Margarita From Jack’s Hard Cider

Photo Credit: Dish Works

Photo Credit: Jack’s Hard Cider