Hard-Pressed: Juice Worth the Squeeze

By Erin James

From the farm to the glass, these apple growers provide premium juice—some available on grocery store shelves and others aimed specifically for the production of hard cider. Taste-test this variety, with fermentation or immediate ingestion as the end result.

Ryan’s Juice/Hood River Juice Company || The trailblazer of apple juice in Oregon’s Hood River Valley, Ryan’s sells fresh juice, raw or pasteurized, to the eager and ambitious cider maker as well as to the consumer. Try the new Opal Apple Cider, a crisp and flavorsome juice of the proprietary variety from partner First Fruits of Washington.

Tree Top || Since 1960, this grower-owned cooperative in Washington’s Yakima Valley has been selling juices straight to stores and to savvy producers. They offer it all, from heritage-style fermenting juice and finishing-style juice concentrate to juice boxes and applesauce.

Fruit Smart || Another Yakima Valley leader of fruit juice concentrates, Fruit Smart has upped its game as the demand for quality concentrates has grown. These all-natural cold-pressed juices, along with purees, concentrates and blends, build the base for ciders across the continent.

BSG CraftBrewing || For the commercial cider maker, Minnesota-based BSG offers their Select CiderBase, a bold apple juice base made from Northwest fruit. Once juiced, the cider is aged with a proprietary process developed in tandem with the specific cider maker client.

Milne Fruit || Also located in the Yakima Valley, Milne Fruit Products has been creating all-natural fruit juices, concentrates and purees since 1956. A one-stop-shop, cider makers can buy base and fruit juice-infusions from the same source.

Knouse Foods || Pennsylvania’s grower-owned orchard cooperative is most famous for their Musselman’s apple juice seen on shelves of groceries nationwide, along with sister brand Lucky Leaf. Musselman’s trends high on homebrew cider maker’s websites for store brands to use as a cider base.

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