Vincent Sterne, owner of Two Rivers Cider, remembers the days of making barely drinkable cider. Those days were a long time ago. Now 20 years into the cider business, Two Rivers Cider has carved a name for itself within the California cider region. From their Original Hard Apple Cider to their more adventurous Blood Orange Cider, Sterne and the crew over at Two Rivers make sure to keep customers on their toes.
Sterne said one of the greatest joys he has experienced in the cider industry is getting into the game so early. “One great memory would have to be the joy of being a pioneer in an industry and starting from scratch. Few books, resources or classes were offered 20 years ago,” he says.
He started the business after being a long-time homebrewer and registered beer judge. After researching old-fashioned cider methods Sterne decided it was time to try his hand in the cider business.
Success didn’t happen overnight for Sterne and Sacramento-based Two Rivers Cider. Lots of hours were put in to make the business a success. Sterne said the industry can even be hostile and lonely at times when starting out as a new producer.
Those wanting to break in to the cider industry should not become discouraged, he says. Although the competition is tough, you have to stay focused on your product and your region. “Deep pockets, growers, the big boys are all in the industry and competition is getting stiff in some markets,” he continues. “Just focus on making good cider.”
Although there is not as much demand for hard cider in California as there is in the Pacific Northwest, Sterne points out that the market is still pretty large. There are dozens of new cideries showing up all over California displaying the increasing demand for craft cider in the region.
“The demand for cider apples in California has really pushed the price for preferred cider varietals up over the recent years,” Sterne explains. “The demand will continue to grow as more good ciders enter the market. Now we just have to convince the growers to keep on planting.”
Two Rivers presses their apples locally from Camino, California in between the foothills of Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. However, because of the high demand for apples they source from across the Pacific Northwest and coastal regions of California.
Currently, Two Rivers Cider can be found in Northern California and Oregon. Sterne said they are hoping to be available in Washington State soon.