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Showcasing the Craft of Cider

By Genevieve Iverson

On a cold, snowy Chicago day in the Lakeview Terrace Room at Navy Pier, Feb. 8, a sold out Cider Summit Chicago 2014 hosted 3,000 attendees in two sessions and dazzled them with more than 90 variations of cider. The consumer crowd was on the young professional side, and many lined up to chat one-on-one with vendors and mingle with the producers and owners in the crowd.

“Everyone was very positive about the cider,” said Mark Jones, founding partner of CIDERCRAFT magazine. “The vendors were friendly and eager to educate.”

Many of the attendees were excited about the future of cider, including the newly popular concept of the cider bar, Jones said. Cider bars have recently popped up around the country in cities such as Chicago, Seattle, New York and Portland. One of the most recent additions to the list is Seattle’s Capital Cider which opened in 2013 as the city’s first cider bar and boasts the largest cider inventory on the West Coast.

Ciders were offered in four-ounce portions to guests of the event, and also featured specially selected foods to pair with the drinks. Owners and cider makers at the event acted as guides to inform guests as they moved through each sample. Most of the ciders were American with one New Zealand featured brand. The Cider Summit Chicago benefitted The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association and Heartland Alliance.

“The best part of the summit was the overwhelming support from the community for cider,” Jones said.

The next Cider Summit, expanded by SBS Imports and the Seattle Beer Collective, will take place in Berkeley, Calif., on April 26.

Photo Courtesy of Paul Friedman WBEZ Public Radio