For the second installment of our tribute to women of cider and in celebration of International Women’s Day (today!), we chat with five more women who have put their efforts and energy into cider. From educating the masses about the drink to running their companies, these women are making major contributions to the world of cider. Catch up first by reading part one here.
Clinical Assistant Professor and Fermentation Specialist | Washington State University Hard Cider Program
Ewing was pursuing her M.S. in Food Science & Technology at Virginia Tech when her advisor asked her if she’d do her thesis on cider instead of wine. Looking for something new and the opportunity to branch out she agreed and soon dove into the world of cider leaving the wine industry behind for WSU’s hard cider program in 2017. Today she teaches a variety of courses at the university’s Northwest Washington extension campus on cider, from fermentation to sensory evaluation.
Moment of Pride: “I still feel like I am at the beginning of my career and am learning every day, but so far, I am most proud of the successful execution of the workshops I have delivered. My favorite part of the job is seeing the ‘aha moments’ from my students. People come to my classes with lots of questions, but I usually see one particular piece of advice that speaks to them. It’s fun to see their face light up when that happens. I also like following up with past students and seeing their progress, and I feel so proud of them for succeeding in their particular area.”
Shero to Clink With: “Because I cannot possibly narrow it down to one person, I would say that it would be fascinating to have a drink with a suffragette. Those ladies were fierce — though of course not without their own problems of racial exclusion. We would definitely be drinking Old Fashioned’s because it seems like such a ‘manly’ drink that would be a bit rebellious for women at the time. Plus who doesn’t like a good whiskey cocktail?”
Co-founder and Co-owner | Eden Specialty Cider
After tasting ice cider in Québec with her husband — who also is the co-founder and co-owner of Eden alongside her — the two decided that somebody should be making it in Vermont. The Legers started making ice cider — the first in the nation — and planting trees in 2007. Now, over a decade later, they have become leaders in the production of heritage cider, even upping their modernization game by being one of the first producers of their kind to can.
Moment of Pride: “We have built a great brand that stands for delicious, high-quality heritage ciders.”
Shero to Clink With: “I would be drinking a bottle of 2013 Dungeness cider with Nancy Bishop from Alpenfire Cider. She has been making killer heritage cider from their own organically grown heirloom and tannic apples for years, and that cider was one of my all time favorites. Richly flavored, beautifully balanced tannin and acidity and naturally sparkling.”
Owner and Cidermaker | Blue Bee Cider
Like many others, Mailey’s journey into cider was not super linear. She had been working a corporate job before she left it to enter a career tied to agriculture in 2010. After apprenticing with fellow Virginian Albemarle CiderWorks for a year and attending cider school at Cornell University, she started Blu Bee Cider as Richmond in 2012.
Moment of Pride: “I opened the first urban cidery in the South and the Mid-Atlantic regions. Since then many others have followed, showing that the concept is viable. I like the idea of having a business that ties together the rural and urban parts of our state.”
Shero to Clink With: “I am lucky to be in Virginia where the sheroes are numerous and I get to see them regularly. Diane Flynt of Foggy Ridge is still on the apple growing side, Anne Shelton from Albemarle CiderWorks is someone I talk to at least once a week about anything and everything, and Kelli Stover of Old Hill is someone whose company and counsel always opens my mind. I could name others, but these are the key folks who I go to for support and camaraderie in a fast-changing industry.”
Sales and Marketing Director | Tilted Shed Ciderworks
Cavalli and her husband, Scott Heath, were living on a farm in northern New Mexico when Heath decided their bumper crop of apples might make a good drink. After that, it was an all-in obsession. The family moved to Sonoma County, California, where they started Tilted Shed in 2011 and have been making cider ever since.
Moment of Pride: “I’m proud of a lot that my husband and I have accomplished with Tilted Shed, but as a solo venture, I’m most proud of my cider zine, Malus. It’s nerdy, philosophical, political, print-only, ad-free, subscription-driven, pretty much the antithesis of how cider is marketed in modern life.”
Shero to Clink With: “I would like to sit down with Sally Hemings over a bottle of Albemarle Ciderworks’ Jupiter’s Legacy, named after Jupiter Evans, one of Thomas Jefferson’s slaves who was in charge of bottling Monticello’s cider. I’d ask her what she thinks of the fact that in the year 2019, the cider industry — of which the consumers are 50 percent female, and shockingly white — still lionizes the founding fathers for their influence on American cider, when many of those same men were slave-owners, and even if they weren’t, they certainly weren’t advocating for equal rights for women and black people. If one wants to be a truly diverse and representative industry, one really needs to stop glorifying a bunch of politically powerful, civil rights-stifling, white men.”
Founder | Elephant Island Winery and Naramata Cider
Halladay’s foray into cider began with wine. She started Elephant Island — which specializes in wine made from fruits other than grapes — with her husband in 2000. Halladay credits their love for food and drink and fascination with fermentation for what led them to make the leap into cider which they felt was a culmination of all those things.
Moment of Pride: “Creating a team that is motivated to bring their best game to the table day in and day out. This is reflected in the ciders we produce and the experience that they are delivered with to market.”
Shero to Clink With: “I was raised surrounded by strong and progressive women and men that support equity. Both my grandmothers were professionals well beyond their time. There are so many women that I am floored by the balance they bring to being mothers, professionals and just all around powerhouses. I think if I was to pick one person recently it would be Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs. I was so impressed with her grace, strength and intelligence through the NAFTA negotiations and I loved her speech at the Diplomat of the Year awards. Drinks — sidra. Location – España Verde. Why — to see cider production and business through the lens of this immense history, but overlaid with the amazing communal piece that goes with it in the Basque… and with the Diplomat of the year? The conversation would be limitless.”