After spending half a year at a vineyard in southern France, Jason MacArthur fell smitten with cider. Fifteen years later, he and his wife, Lauren, matured that infatuation and opened their own cidery in Marlboro, Vermont and named it for the brook that ran alongside their property. Using exclusively local apples (although this year they reached out to Poverty Lane Orchards in Lebanon, New Hampshire) and fruit from their own modest orchard, Whetstone CiderWorks‘ bottle labels sport Mr.
This story originally ran on our sister publication’s website, Sip Northwest.
By Erin James
Business is good for Liberty Ciderworks, the young Spokane, Washington urban cidery that quickly moved from a hobby to a booming profession. Since launching in July 2013 then introducing Spokane (and much of Washington State) to a cidery tap room, Liberty is continuing to expand and doing so with its first full-time hire outside of owner Rick Hastings and his partner Austin Dickey.
Story has it that fictional protagonist and beloved narcoleptic wilderness-man Rip Van Winkle (in the namesake story by author Washington Irving) wandered through New York’s Catskills Mountains, following a man dressed in dated Dutch clothing. The man led him toward the sound of rolling thunder, which ended up being a game of nine-pins (bowling with—you guessed it—nine pins). RPW joined in, drank some moonshine with his new Dutch friends and passed out for 20 years.
By Erin James
The most promising piece I pulled away from the United States Association of Cider Makers fourth annual conference held in Chicago last week wasn’t the impressive statistics. According to Boston Beer Co. and Angry Orchard’s Robert Vail, the number of cider drinkers grew more than six times in the last two years and my hometown of Seattle is the No. 2 market in the country. It wasn’t the 353 cideries, 35 states and 650+ people represented at the conference either.
Uncle John’s Cider Mill is looking good for 97-years-old. The fruit house was established on the Beck family farm as a place to store and package the fruit before it hit the wholesale market. Still specializing in apples (along with the growth of peaches, cherries, strawberries and raspberries), the fruit house has grown to a packing facility, retail outlet, workshop, winery and hard cidery.
“It’s time to restore the great American beverage to its former glory,” says a bearded, leather-vested, silver-tongued millenial cider enthusiast in a commercial Blake’s Hard Cider Co. put out last April. (Heed the slight, cool jabs at Angry Orchard and Redd’s Apple Ale.
Bend, Oregon is synonymous with craft beverage. Also known as “Beer Town, U.S.A.” courtesy of its 23 breweries in the mountain city of 80,000 (the most breweries per capita in the country), Bend boasts three cideries as well, including the passionate and creative folks at Red Tank. A long list of seasonal ciders support the mainline year-round options, like the winter edition Elder-Cherry, a “traditional English ferment” cider.
From Southern Cliff Brands, a boutique supplier of premium beverage brands in Canada, comes Pommies ciders—the 100-percent Ontario-grown hard cider. Sans artificial flavor, color or concentrate, Pommies is made from five varieties of Ontario “heritage” apples. Pressed and fermented in tank until dryness, Pommies back-sweetens with glucose fructose (they own up to “about a teaspoon per bottle”) for an approachable, medium-sweet and soft cider.
Three childhood buddies from two separate cities started one orchard on the banks of Oregon’s Willamette River along with one ciderhouse named 2 Towns. With nearly 700 trees planted, the ciderhouse facility also recently grew to more than 10,000-square-feet to continue the unflappable growth.