With the namesake derived from a mythical-mighty titan, you would expect nothing short of legendary when it comes to the cider produced by Dan and Samantha McCoy of Atlas Cider in Bend, Oregon.
For three years the McCoys have been fermenting fruits and concocting eclectic ciders unheard of in other craft cider brands. In doing so, the McCoys have earned themselves the title of the number one selling craft cider company in the whole state of Oregon.
Avid lovers of the outdoors, Dan and Samantha fell in love with Bend when they moved to the area after being teachers for six years. Upon arriving in Bend, they became enamored with craft cider and wanted to introduce it to the highly-concentrated craft beer town.
Dan went back to school at the University of Washington to study fermentation science before they started the business. He wanted to understand the ins and outs of fruit fermentation before diving headfirst into the craft cider game.
“I love being inspired by the fruit I use. Just getting inspiration from the fruit and trying to craft a cider that works with the fruit’s flavor profile,” Dan says.
Atlas Cider currently has four main-stay brands, but they consistently pump out unique seasonal sips with the intention of being fruit-forward, but sweet, tart and dry.
The four brands in stock all around the Northwest and Nevada are the Session Apple Cider, POM-Cherry Cider, Apricot Cider and Blackberry Cider. But this summer, Atlas Cider is trying a completely different route: they have just released a Dragonfruit Cider. That’s right, Dragonfruit.
Dan says he believes his cider crafted from dragonfruit is the first of its kind. The cider was released May 5 and Atlas Cider threw a release party for the cider at their taproom location in Bend.
The McCoys got 100 pounds of dragonfruit imported from Asia and say it is enough to get them through the first two batches of cider. But, with plans to sell the seasonal release all summer long they may need to get more, Dan says.
He says the cider is unlike anything he has ever tasted or even looked at. Brandishing a bright-fuchsia color and exhibiting tastes of kiwi and sorbet, it is safe to assume he is right.
Hinting back to getting his inspiration from the fruit itself, Dan laughs with excitement as he discusses the mysteriousness of the dragonfruit.
“It really does look like dragonskin or a dragon egg,” he says.
Dan says it wasn’t easy becoming Oregon’s number one craft cider brand. There are difficulties and challenges along the way. It can be a crapshoot to maintain the original flavor of the fruit while still achieving a good balance in the flavor profile of the drink, he says.
But, Atlas Cider has done just that. What makes Atlas Cider different than the other producers is the fact that their cider is fruit-forward, but with a clean and dry finish. He says this fact is what sets them apart from the rest.
To celebrate being named the number one craft cider brand, Dan and the rest of the crew at Atlas Cider are throwing two large parties on June 3 and 4. Admission is free and the party will be carnival-themed, even featuring a Ferris wheel. Make sure to check out the party and don’t forget to grab a Dragonfruit Cider while you are there.