South Carolina isn’t exactly known for cider, but Ship’s Wheel Cider is working to change that. From its start in 2017, the family-run cidery has been working to source the best apples possible to press into delicious craft beverages that Charleston residents – and beyond – will love. From the story behind their name to the ways the cidery is making cider more approachable (hello, cider slushies!), general manager Scott Jamison shares it all.
How and why did you decide to get into cidermaking?
Before moving to Charleston, S.C., we lived in Charlottesville, Va., for many years where we were introduced to craft hard ciders. John Jamison, my son and one of our cidermakers, lived in London and developed a great appreciation for the English cider tradition. As John returned home, we realized that craft ciders were not widely available in coastal South Carolina, despite Charleston’s vibrant beverage and food community. So, we decided to take the chance of pioneering craft cider in Charleston.
Because of your location, your cider production setup is unique. Where and how do you source your apples?
Like other urban cideries, we do not yet have our own orchard. The apples in our ciders come primarily from Virginia and New York. We try to find the best apples we can to make our different product lines.
Can you share the story behind the name, Ship’s Wheel Cider?
Our business name is Jamison Hard Cider Company. We thought about using our name as our brand, but we felt it might create confusion in the market (or even a lawsuit). We are a seafaring family with a heritage of harbor pilots and ship captains. We have a love of the water and enjoy water sports from fishing to sailing to diving. Ship’s Wheel also fits our location near the former Charleston Navy Yard.
Options such as Cider-mosas, the Cider Bloody Mary and Cider Slushies are available at your tasting room. Other than on its own, what’s your favorite way you enjoy cider?
For many of our customers, a visit to our tasting room is their first experience with craft cider. We wanted to create drinks like the Cider-mosa and the Cider Bloody Mary to show customers that cider is a broader category than they might have thought. Our Cider Slushies are our favorite non-conventional ciders. There is nothing better than a Cider Slushie on a hot, humid Charleston day!