Hey Reddit,

We are Craig Cavallo and Dan Pucci, authors of the just released American Cider, a Modern Guide to a Historic Beverage. Available 03/02/2021.

We are happy to discuss anything apple, orchard or cider related. We have both worked in food and beverage for over a decade and have been working on this cider project for the past three years. It is an exciting time to talk about cider as the entire world is rethinking apples, orchard and agriculture.

Cider has exploded in popularity over the last decade, from 150 licensed producers in 2010 to nearly a 1,000 in 2020. This meteoric rise did not come from a vacuum but was built upon 400 years of orcharding, agriculture, politics and economics. In the book we examine the history of the United States from the orchard, as we look at forces that continue to shape cider today.

We wanted to write a beverage book that went behind the nostalgia to understand how history is alive today, while exploring the fascinating world of cider and apples. The book examines how capitalism and white supremacy laid the foundation for the agricultural system in the United States and how cidermakers today are drawing upon and rejecting that system.

We have spent the last few years traveling, tasting and talking with cidermakers from around the globe to better understand the revival that is taking place.

Instagram @American_Cider



- https://i.redd.it/0w9n0kmum9k61.jpg

Craig Cavallo lived in New York City for thirteen years, working in restaurants, blogging about food trends, and writing for Saveur. His work has been published in Condé Nast Traveler, GQ, New York magazine's Grub Street, Thrillist, and Vice Munchies. He left New York City for the Hudson Valley, and when he's not at Golden Russet Cafe & Grocery, which he owns and operates with his wife, Jenny, he can be found picking fenceline apples and dabbling in his own cellar cider experiments.

Dan Pucci is one of the nation's leading cider experts. He was the founding beverage director at Wassail, New York City's first cider bar and restaurant, and has since traveled the country in a continued pursuit of cider education, awareness, and research. He is a partner in Wallabout Hospitality, a New York City-based consulting and hospitality company

Comments: 127 • Responses: 61  • Date: 

herbibore8 karma

It feels like there's a lot of Americana/nostalgia tied to apples and their relationship to the American frontier. Do you think this helps or hurts the way people think about cider today?

Similarly, it seems like cider is a lot more local and affordable than similar wines. For someone who's interested in learning about ciders, where would you start?

American_Cider8 karma

In terms of nostalgia, cider has leaned on folksy images as a way to connect to people. This has benefited cidermakers in the short term but in the long terms is a bad direction


This is a great article by Olivia Maki owner of Redfield Cider in Oakland. It digs into the alienation of potential consumers. I think that we need to find better narratives than those that rely upon the glory of the good old days to help connect people to cider -


American_Cider6 karma

Nostalgia has been a constant part of cider, I like to mark the decline of cider in the United States with the Hard Cider of Election of 1840, where William Henry Harrison, a man born into privilege of Virginia plantation was sold as the champion of the common man. His team marketed him as the hard cider candidate and gave out tons of it at campaign events. But writings from then still frame cider with nostalgia, and that the Harrison Campaign was going to bring back the good old days. So I see it as people thought cider was something of an earlier generation with nostalgia.


American_Cider6 karma

To the second part of your question, if you're in an apple area and can visit orchards, start there. Talk to growers and farmers that have experience with apples. Depending on the scale of the orchard, many farms with fruit trees are making cider as a value added product. Canned cider can be a good place to start too! They're less of a 'commitment,' so to speak, than 750mL bottles. From there, check local wine stores. Pay attention to nuances as you're drinking and read the labels. There is often good information on cider packaging that can help you start to form an understanding of what you're tasting, why you're tasting it, and what you like/dislike about it. -Craig

migaloo6 karma

Why has cider taken such a long time to take off in the states? Places like the UK, Ireland and Australia seem to have had a much more cider varietals available over the years. Is it growing conditions or more to do with cultural differences. Excited to read your book guys! Congrats :)

American_Cider10 karma

Thank I am glad to hear.

Cider in the United States is happening now, because of a couple of things,.

A. other markets for apples have shrunk, no one buys apple sauce or pie mix like they did 50 years ago, and Chinese apples have under cut commodity bulk apples for most generic apple products.

b. There has been alot of changes in regulations on both a state and federal level that have lowered the barrier of entry for producers.

c. there are new consumers looking for exciting new things that speak them through a narrative.

d. there are farmers and orchardist around the country that see cider as the best option for a creating a value added product from orchard fruit.

Growing conditions have nothing to do about, Apple can grow in Florida, Northern Maine, Outside of San Diego, Montana and Kansas.

I can't speak to Australia but in the UK and Ireland in terms of cider apples in the 19th century. They selected for apples that could grow well in their climate and could be grown with little expense to produce a product. In the united states, since the early 1800's the market has always been on growing apples for the fresh market. Fresh market or processed eating apples, ( dried and canned) are the rule for most apples in the country and everything was moving in that direction. It made no sense for orchardist to make cider until recently because other markets promised higher returns. Now cider is a viable product with returns that can insure a future for the farm




mtngoatjoe3 karma

I think prohibition also had something to do with the state of cider in the United States. Most cider orchards were cut down during prohibition, and after the ban was lifted, the investment was too high to justify replanting.

Edit: The American_Cider folks don't believe any trees were cut during prohibition. I am no historian, so I'll defer to their expertise.

American_Cider6 karma

when cider was wide spread in the United States, 18th and first decades of the 19th century. It was mostly made from seedling apples, grown on small farms. Except in places like Newark, NJ and on some of the large plantations in the South East.

But by 1820's most of the investment was going into fresh eating and not cider. There are a few accounts of cider orchards that existed in the early 20th century but only a few and they got the axe not due to laws but due to market forces and suburbanization after ww2.

The accounts of orchards getting the axe is untrue and mostly told by people after the fact or speaking in hyperbole. But frankly there were only a few cider orchards left and those that existed pivoted to other apple products. most of the cider being made by prohibition was made from multi purpose apples newtown pippin (martinelli santa cruz, pauliding Long island, ny ) golden russet ( mott's, in NYS)

bands of teetotalers chopping down trees isn't the case, because generations before hand, orchardist made a choice to grow more profitable eating apples.


SharkSlope4 karma

Any tips on what to look for at the store when shopping for cider?

American_Cider2 karma


go direct to the source, buy direct from the producers, and get it shipped to your door.


American_Cider2 karma

I think transparency in labeling is the best source for shopping at the store. See what the producers have to say on the label, and how much information/education there is. Also don't get stuck in a rut of drinking the same thing. If you have access to a multitude of cider, drink it all and start assessing what you like and dislike about what you're finding. Find the common ground and start having conversations with other folks on a similar ciderquest. Don't fear the unknown, because the category is full of unknowns, even for the experts! shopciders.com is the best online place to buy from producers across the country. It's an aggregate of VinoShipper and the shipping costs are marginal. The country's best cider is available to most of the 50 states. Great resource. Happy drinking! -Craig

American_Cider3 karma

Back to Top

Transparency in labelling is paramount.


Kind_Sun_38714 karma

So prognosticate: where is cider going? Boutique or corporate?

American_Cider5 karma

Both. Part of cider's dynamism lies in its boundless potential. As more and more cider comes on the market there continues to be more room, increased outlets, and greater demand for cider of all styles, be it regional, small-scale, farm-based cider or internationally distributed cider made from imported (or not) juice and/or concentrate. We owe it to the country's dynamic market for creating and supporting a multidimensional category. -Craig

American_Cider3 karma

Cider's future is really promising. over the last ten years millions of new trees have gone in the ground with with the expressed purpose of making cider!!

The character of cider is always in flux as we learn more about what varieties grown best where and how to grow and ferment varieties.


- ama

thom_reads4 karma

Are there any misconceptions about cider that you've learned about in all your time learning about cider, cideries, etc.?

American_Cider6 karma

I think the biggest misconception about cider is that it is a singular beverage, and not an entire category. What we're trying to do is lay the foundational context for understanding why cider from X differs from cider from Y. American cider, the drink, not the book, began with the arrival of Europeans in the 17th century. Agricultural practices vary throughout the country based on things like geography and class, and those things, along with climate, culture, and people, all influence the process from orchard to bottle. -Craig

American_Cider5 karma

when I first started working in cider in 2014 the conversation was always "is it sweet" but that has changed alot in the last few years, as cider has moved from wine coolers to a wine


thom_reads3 karma

Thanks, that's so interesting!

Do you have favorite regions that you like your ciders from?

American_Cider6 karma

There are a number of places with crazy amazing potential to make great cider,

Finger Lakes of NY, Northern CA, and Oregon draw from the wine culture.

Colorado's Western Slope is super cool and unique place to grow apples!

Traverse Bay in Michigan is an amazing fruit growing region that can do great stuff.

- dan

Choo_Choo_Bitches3 karma

Do you like still cider?

Is perry a cider or it's own drink seen as pear cider is a thing (at least it is here in England)?

How do you feel about fruit ciders e.g. summer fruits, strawberry and lime, etc.?

Do Americans drink scrumpy (a strong cider, usually comes in glass flagons, usually still, cloudy, and has sediment in the bottom)?

American_Cider3 karma

Still love cider, its is a ton of fun to drink and explore.

In the usa, perry often gets grouped in with cider, Most perry is made from non- perry pears, but there are some producers of it who make it with wild pears, english perry pears or eating pears. Pear flavored cider was more of a thing a few years ago but other fruit flavors have eclipsed it.

some flavors are good, right now I am loving co-fermented fruits, Rose Hill in the Hudson Valley, makes some cool stuff from their tart cherries and blue berries.

Due to laws around packaging and taxes, scrumpy is not really a part of the contemporary cider culture in the united states. There are some cider makers that makes something similar ( but with generally higher alcohol than its uk counterparts). Usually it is made from eating apples and not tannic cider apples.

- dan

Choo_Choo_Bitches2 karma

I meant still as in not fizzy due to the fermentation.

That's interesting as I was always told (in the uk) that if it wasn't made from perry pears then it is pear cider, not perry.

What is the difference (in the flavour) between co-fermented fruits and cider with fruits added later?

American_Cider3 karma

In the UK that is usually the rule by true perry people

In the USA it is more flexible and pear cider usually refers to a co-fermented or pear flavored cider.

Co fermented fruit takes one more character and often does not resemble the fresh fruit, but is more complex and takes on new flavors.

added later generally retain their fresh primary fruit flavors


FlammusNonTimmus2 karma

Any personal favorites?

American_Cider3 karma

Too many to list, part of cider's fun is exploring all the new possibilities.

That being said Finger Lakes are making amazing cider!

FlammusNonTimmus1 karma

The Finger Lakes area seems to be the place for all good things thee days. Don't get back to CNY much but try to visit the area when we do for sure. Been living in London and the amount of cider in the UK in general is overwhelming, to say the least. Some great stuff though!

PS, went to HS with you Craig, congrats on the book and I wish you much success!

-Tim Dahl

American_Cider2 karma

Thats awesome - I know Eve's Cidery and Anxo are both sold in the uk


msmdln1 karma

Anxo has done a number of collaborations with Tom Oliver!

American_Cider1 karma

They have a few they release in the USA, also the Oliver’s confusingly named gold rush (contains not gold rush apples) made by Ryan Burke and Tom Oliver!

Ashmeads_Kernel1 karma

Hahaha I remember the owner of albermarle cider works answering this question with: "whichever one is currently in my hand."

American_Cider1 karma

yes that is something Chuck would say!

patsfan39832 karma

What's the cider scene like in Mid-Atlantic states, such as Virginia and North Carolina? Is there much of one at all and if so, how does it compare with other regions in the country?

American_Cider6 karma

There are three main growing areas in North Carolina and Virginia.

west of Charlottesville in Ablemarle and Nelson County on the east side of the Blue Ridge mountains.

West of the mountains you have Winchester county home of Lairds where they grow a of apples

In NC you have big growing areas around Hendersonville south of Asheville and along the eastern slope edge of the blue ridge mountains.

There are lots of great Cider,

In Va - Blue bee, Court House Creek and Winchester cider,

NC James Creek, Botanist and Barrel

There are lots of amazing unique varieties that trace their origin back to

a. large plantations on the tidewater

b. indigenous people who were displaced

c. rural communities in isolated mountains

,- dan

American_Cider6 karma

Prolific! There is a long history of making cider in the mountains of southern states like Virginia and NC. Apples thrive at high elevations there, where the climate can be more akin to the Hudson Valley than the warmer South. Orchards like Foggy Ridge (VA), Big Horse Creek Farm (NC), and James Creek (NC) are all testaments to fruit growing in the South. Albemarle Ciderworks and Blue Bee in VA, James Creek Cider and Botanist and Barrel in NC, as well as Ironbound Cider in Jersey, ANXO in DC and Ploughman Cider in PA all celebrate regional resources to make compelling cider. Some of this cidermaking is built on the legacy of Hewe's crab, one of the best U.S. apples for cidermaking, while other efforts stand on access to leftover fruit from thriving processing industries in the mid 20th century. -Craig

raideo2 karma

A commercial cider that I enjoyed that some of the local bars had in NC and GA when we went was Bold Rock Hard Cider. Not too sweet.

PoundBusy16241 karma

Bold Rock definitely tends to the sweeter side of cider produced in Virginia.

raideo1 karma

I wish there were a less sweet option, that’s readily available in stores. Strongbow, Angry Orchard, Bold Rock is about it.

American_Cider1 karma

Lots of regional brands are growing in the NC/VA/Sc world

You have noble in Asheville but you have some great ones with seeking out James, creek, botanist and battle, blue bee, just takes more work

majorthomasina2 karma

Why are the worst apples also the most prolific ones? Despite their name Red Delicious apples are bland, mealy and generally awful. Why hasn’t anyone improved them over the years?

American_Cider5 karma

Red Delicious is the poster child for commodity orcharding, and you're right that it's not the most flavorful apple. Hawkeye, the original Delicious cultivar (itself a sprout from a Yellow Bellflower apple tree!), from Iowa and a captivating red-striped-with-yellow variety bursting with flavor. But mid-19th and early 20th century markets wanted mostly red varieties that could be grown reliably at large scale. Hawkeye didn't fit the bill. Red Delicious did, and Stark Bros Nursery out of Missouri led the marketing charge on varieties like McIntosh and Red and Golden Delicious. As to why they aren't improved, it's largely because academia is producing some of the most flavorful apple hybrids out there (for fresh eating). Think Honeycrisp and Fuji. Apples take too long to grow to improve upon, so the industry creates newer and better. -Craig

American_Cider4 karma

They have been improved on, but just not for flavor,

For such commodity apples the primary concerns are storage, shelf life, ease of growing and then consumer appeal.

The acreage of Red Delicious is on the decline as the large orchard in Washington State (which is where that variety is grown the most) is on the decline and is being replaced with honeycrisp, fuji and the much hyped cosmic crisp


starliner20002 karma

Since getting into cider this year, I have learned that my parents have an apple tree on their property on the west coast that they did not plant, that produces terrible tasting apples. They have owned the property since the 70s and none of the surrounding area was built up until the late 80s.

They refer to it was a 'wild apple tree'. Is there any way I can get the apple analyzed? What type of place would do this?

American_Cider2 karma

My first question is to figure out if they trees are planted intentional or if they are seedlings.

Since it tastes gross and you are on the west coast chance are its a seedling because people would not typically been planting things that weren't fit to eat after 1900. so tbd.

If it is a single tree that is nearish the house and is younger than the house than i expect it is a planted tree. if it is older than the house then it might be a seedling. apples do not grow true from seed so whatever you have there might be a unique individual so no dna or analysis is going to help.

you can also see if it is a seedling by looking for graft unions and things like that.

If you think you have an actual variety and not a seedling then the next place is to look at how old is the tree, apples trees can be deceptive so based on when the land was cleared, or occupied etc. where where are you located. For example King of Tompkins County or King apples are widely found in the Puget Sound, or Macintosh in Montana, Gravenstein in the Bay area.

so once you are short list the possible apples then you are actually look at the apples and see if you have comparision or if you are in WA, there is an apple id both at the Vashon Island Cider Festival manned by bob norton a former professor at WSU

good luck!


starliner20001 karma

They cleared the property and built the current house. The tree predates the house. None of the lots surrounding theirs were used/cleared until after they built their house. I guess I can look up historic ownership info from the county.

I will definiately check out the cider festival. Would a food lab be able to analyze the chemical composition of the apple? like sugar, tannin, and malic acid compositon to see how it compares to known cider variants? Basically trying to find if I should bother with it this year? (most likely will just for the hell of it).

They did planted a gravenstein and a pollenator for it, along with a couple of spartans, so definiately going to try those out in the fall.

Great info, thanks!

American_Cider2 karma

I would look up the history of the area, it may be a seedling or it might not be.

A food lab would most likely not be helpful because the chemical composition of apples can vary every year and where you grow them. also such databases early and not at a point where it would be useable.

gross tasting apples can ferment into something amazing. why is it gross? tannin?

how large is it? does it fruit regularly? how does the fruit look?

starliner20002 karma

Yeah, makes sense. It will be an experiment to be sure!

The tree is the last one. https://imgur.com/a/13h03Q2#C7LyTk7

We never did much with it since it tasted horrible, so it's pretty over grown, which I am tackling now. It's probably 15ft tall. Trunk is probably 6-8in or so in diameter.

The apples are maybe about the size of a small gala, light and yellow ish, and pretty round. It has produced tons of fruit every year despite zero maintance of the tree. My guess would be it's self pollenating. Only other apples around are grevenstein, jonagold, yellow transparebt, spartan, all planted by my parents.

Can't remember exactly what it tasted like. Last time I had one was in the 90s. My guess woukd be from tannin as I fell like I got a bit of remembrance from it after messing around with adding powdered tannin to one of my recent brews.

American_Cider2 karma

I would be curious, about it, take a picture ofthe fruit next year.

Size is hard to compare on those old trees and you can't compare it to a orchard apple.

in the NW -King, Gravenstein, Newtown Pippin and others were popular. the other thing would be to see when they are ripe!

Meredithmountain2 karma

Can you age cider? Or should you drink it soon after it is bottled?

American_Cider3 karma

A lot of today's cider is being made with intention to be consumed shortly after it's bottled--sort of a celebration of the previous harvest. This is in part because most of the fruit cidermakers currently have access to is not intended for cider. As more cider fruit goes in the ground, and cider profiles change and increase in complexity/structure/nuance, the more likely we are to see ageworthy cider. That said, combinations of acid/sugar/tannin/ABV (alcohol by volume) all play a part in whether or not a cider has the potential to age, and many ciders today do. -Craig

American_Cider4 karma


This is something i wrote a number of years ago that goes into the process and what is needed for great ageworthy cider --dan

Jacomel2 karma

Hello, I am French and more precisely from Brittany, where cider is a very common drink (arguably more than beer or wine). What’s specific about western french ciders compared to US and UK ones ? Usually in France cidre can be either doux (starting at 2%) or brut (5% alcohol). Is it the same in the US? I have also tested basque ciders (southwest of France) and they are much more bitter than I am used too, why is that, and beetween those French ciders which one is the closest to the average US cider ?

American_Cider2 karma

Generally French ciders are made with a process called keeving that strips the cider of nutrients that slows fermentation, allowing for a naturally sweet beverage. this is practiced a little in the UK ( Pilton Cidery )and a tiny bit in the USA EZ Orchards.

Uk ciders are much more diverse in their profile and process than Brittany in a very general way. In French and Spanish Basque regions they often time actually import a lot of apple from Brittany but process it very different. less sugar for the tannin ( found in the apples is more apparent- creating a more bitter taste.

American cider on the other hand is very different is generally more fruit forward and fresh and with higher alcohol. usually around 6-7% but occasionally up to 10% depending on the orchard and the variety

- dan

Jacomel1 karma

Oh I see ! Indeed the western French ciders that I know all have a very sweet taste. I have literally grown up with that taste since I started drinking cider as a kid (not uncommon where I live). It also explains why terroir cidre are a bit hard for France, since the keeving process you describe makes the different farm cider similar. Beyond buying a local farm cider there’s not much you can do to get a better cider, but while you have varying degree of quality you have nothing like wine cépage or anything . I am not sure it is a bad thing in itself, I do like that the snobbish wine culture is not found in what is a good but accessible drink. I am always glad to buy a local cider for 5 euros or something. I am curious about the different tastes that are possible in the US and Uk though.

American_Cider2 karma

because terroir, flavor and process are so intertwined it is nearly impossible to separate them. There are some new producers in western France like Domaine Le domaine lesuffleur cider and of course Eric Bordelet that are making " new style cider"

while inexpensive farm cider exists in the UK, such stuff is not possible in the USA. Where farms are generally younger, with mortgages, debt and other expenses that european farms for the most do not have. Also the USA does not have the agricultural subsides in place for fruit ( the way it does for cereal crops) to also help lower the fixed costs of doing business.

american cider basically starts at about $4 for a 12 oz can on the east coast and $4 for 16 oz in some rare occasions.


klaauser2 karma

From a cider "novice" perspective, what are both of your Top 5 ciders I should try?

American_Cider2 karma

I usually start all cider classes i give with original sin extra dry, it is clean, fruity, primary and well made and technically correct in all ways. but there are plenty of local examples of this style, Uncle John's or Tandem from Michigan. Yonder from the PNW.

my top five thought

  1. Finger Lakes Estate grown producers ( Redbyrd or Eve's)
  2. Foraged apples, Aaron Burr, Floral Terrains from NY, Art and Science from Oregon,
  3. Southern apples- Blue Bee, James Creek or Big Fish, such ripe big fruit and wide textures.
  4. Farnum hill/ Eden - they are the OG of bitter apples New England
  5. Co Ferments- Art and science makes some excellent or u/tbonebk makes one with merlot skins that is great


American_Cider2 karma

Dan's advice to seek cider from across the country is a great way to engage with cider on a national level. There are so many differences that express themselves in the final product, that a sweeping, national approach stands to offer a lot in terms of education. Five regions/producers to consider are Metal House and Rose Hill in NY's Hudson Valley, Tilted Shed and Lassen in northern CA, Fenceline in CO, Milk & Honey and Western Cider from the Midwest, and Albemarle Ciderworks from the Southeast all offer great cider experiences. -Craig

AlexTrebequois2 karma

Honest question: how much of the Johnny Appleseed story is true? Or a myth? Were apple trees spread in early America just for cider?

American_Cider5 karma

John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, did exist. He did spread seeds, but the intent of those seedlings was multidimensional. Chapman lived at a time when science/grafting/commercial growing was becoming an increasing part of the landscape. His seedling trees played less of an influential role. He continues to be part of our folklore because he is pigeon holed as a counter cultural, rural recluse in the face of an ever-urbanizing and modernizing country. We contextualize him as a progenitor of our current culture rather than a vestige of the pre capitalist culture he comes from. -Craig

American_Cider3 karma

He did exist but not in the way Disney has portrayed him, in fact the account of his life that made him famous came out years after he died. I think it in Harper's Weekly in the 1850's but he died in 1845.

He was a budding land speculator that would purchase land and resell it at a profit as the frontier moved west



AlexTrebequois1 karma

Wow thanks for the great replies!

American_Cider3 karma

we have a deep dive in the book on the lies

bobsachamamo2 karma

My dad makes his own cider by buying apple juice and then leaving it in the fridge for 6 months. (but first he pours 1/3 bottle of vodka in it). Is this kinda how it's made or what?

American_Cider4 karma

haha, that just sounds like old stale cocktail,

cider needs to be fermented, but that much alcohol would kill any yeast that was trying to consume the sugar.


American_Cider2 karma

Not exactly. In order for the apple juice to ferment (without adding yeast) it would have to be not pasteurized. Cider is made by harvesting apples, crushing them into a pulp, and pressing the juice out of that pulp. There are a number of ways to go about the fermentation, from wild yeast to commercial yeast, and then vessel is a consideration. But ultimately cider is made by harvest, crush, press, ferment, bottle (or can or keg). Adding vodka might just help put you to sleep faster (but it will kill any living yeast)! -Craig

Houseboy232 karma

As someone who loves cider, all I've read in this thread is how cider is booming, but shopping any grocery store locally(and most liquor stores) the cider selection has consistently shrunk over the past 5 years while being devoured by Hard Seltzers, it seems like Cider was the 'trending' drink a few years ago but seems to have seriously fallen off. Is it going to be regulated to a niche drink found mostly in specialty stores or are you saying there will be a resurgence in the mass availability of it?

American_Cider3 karma

it is true that seltzer has taken a bite of out some cider,

but artisan, estate and premium cider and even lower cost "regional" cider continues to grow.

with more and more cider orchards coming online cider will not go away anytime soon


American_Cider3 karma

Because of cider's current scale, most cidermakers are not producing at large enough volume to warrant working with mega beer/wine distributors. Those large companies that bring alcoholic beverages to grocery stores all generally deal with the same brands that produce hundreds of thousands of gallons annually and continually (not seasonally, like the most nuanced cider). Cider producers on a more local scale also do not necessarily have the means to lose additional overhead by paying a third party to distribute their product. The most sense (re cents) is to sell direct to consumer, which is why we're seeing more and more cideries opening orchard/tasting room ventures that allows them to control the narrative and not have anything lost in (distribution) translation.

I think in the near future the best cider will remain in specialty stores, where the narrative can be preserved and the cider label's message can be more acutely described. Cider producers with the means to produce serious volumes will continue to be available en masse, but it will take a lot of learning on everyone's part before "cider store" fits right in with "wine store" and "beer world" and the like.

Part of our goal with this book is to build context so the people making decisions at grocery stores and liquor stores on what products to bring in can be better informed about what cider is available in their region/community and why, and also to give them the building blocks to talk about the cider in a confident and commanding way so that the product (and all the hard work in making it) can stand a fighting chance against hard seltzer. -Craig

Mur__Mur1 karma

I can never remember the difference between apple cider and apple juice. Any tips?

American_Cider1 karma

Well it’s book is about fermented beverages. So for this purpose cider is fermented while juice is not.

tbonebk1 karma

How far do you think we are from a real "cider is wine" moment where it will start to see equal footing as a variety/terroir/craft-driven beverage here in the US?

American_Cider3 karma

I think there's an argument that we're already there. Cider is a variety/terroir/craft-driven beverage, but there is still a long way to go for the larger market to understand the context that sets cider up as 'cider is wine.' On the flipside, cider is wine sells cider short, or threatens to place a cap on cider's potential. Because apples and grapes behave differently--there are more acids and fermentable compounds in apples and more varieties in the appleverse--that will add to the length of time it takes for the market and producers/consumers to understand the beverage. -Craig

American_Cider2 karma

I think that in the next ten years as all of these new orchards come online we will have a lot better idea of how different apples grow and taste. Right now it is most conjecture and not real information.

So then we can talk about variety x grown in y soils in z climate, and while we can acknowledge that all of that impacts the beverage, we don't know how yet.


Meredithmountain1 karma

What about ice cider? Can you tell us a little about it?

American_Cider4 karma

Sure! Ice cider is a fortified, aged beverage that is an increasing part of cold climate cidermaking. It can be made by cryoconcentration (freezing pressed apple juice and extracting a concentrated liquor--because the water freezes and is then removed from the solution, thereby concentrating alcohol), or cryoextraction, whereby frozen apples are pressed for a juice that is higher in alcohol (sugar intensifies as the apples hang on through winter and water evaporates). Eleanor Leger of Eden Specialty Ciders in Vermont is a leader of the ice cider making charge here in the US. There is a majesty to ice cider, as it can only be made in places cold enough to permit, but not too cold so that apples can't grow. -Craig

BitPoet1 karma

Why is hot apple cider so goddamn delicious in the winter?

American_Cider2 karma

The world may never know! -Craig

American_Cider2 karma

It warms you up!

back at Wassail, we sold so much hot cider it was crazy, i went through so much all spice!

raideo1 karma

Has Redds Apple Ale gone by the wayside yet? If I was at a new bar, I would ask if they had any ciders, only to be offered a Redds Apple Ale. Now there is usually a Woodchuck or Angry Orchard available.

Do you have any favorite commercially and widely available ciders?

Thoughts on getting rid of “hard cider” from the names or descriptions of these beverages? It reminds me of Mikes Hard Lemonade and makes it sound like a novelty drink.

American_Cider3 karma

Cider brands a pretty regional,

Anxo is sold in alot of states and is great!! i keep it in my fridge.

we did not / barely used the word hard in our book, and i think it important to drop it because it makes it sound like something that is alcoholic option rather than the default


raspberrypied1 karma

I find most American ciders far too sweet. I used to brew my own (with non-pasteurized cider from Bartlett's Orchard in MA ) and used champagne yeast to get a fully fermented, dry cider. I can't do that anymore. Do you have a recommendation for a pure, dry, crisp cider (no cardamon or weird spices!)?

American_Cider2 karma

If you are in MA,

Artifact cider project makes amazing totally dry cider

West County - Oldest in the country.

American_Cider1 karma

lots of amazing cider out there keep trying-dan

msmdln1 karma

Judith and Field do some awesome stuff. Get the Redfield if you can, I’m pretty sure Judith rediscovered that heritage varietal in western mass

American_Cider1 karma

Redfield was actually developed by Cornell/ Geneva research station in NYS as a high value processing apple. The thought was the naturally red flesh and tart taste would make for great apple sauce. Well, plant breeding take time and by the time the variety was ready to go inexpensive red food dye made the apple's intended purpose moot. Flash forward to the 1980's Judith and her late husband Terry adopted the variety on a chance visit to the Germplasm in Geneva.- dan

msmdln1 karma

Yikes, I guess I’ve been disseminating incorrect information for years. Do you know much about the Redlove project?

American_Cider1 karma

is that the project out in Washington to develop red fleshed eating apples? the lucy apples?

There is also a redfleshed cider project happening at Michigan State. They identified varieties named Otterson and Cranberry as two super promising one. Left Foot Charlie in Traverse city makes cider from their experimental fruit.

There is another weird orchard called Eastern Antique apples/ Forgotten ciders that has dozens of red fleshed stuff. they are in central michigan


I_smokey1 karma

Have you tried making applejack?

American_Cider3 karma

once, not very good, i would try it again


I_smokey1 karma

Can you distill apple scraps the way they make grappa? (Fermenting grape skins and such then distilling it)

American_Cider3 karma

yep, there is a style of cider called cider kin that reflects that style like a piquette u/tbonebk

new distiller/ cidery in ny called strickland hollow makes an apple grappa from their wild apple pomace.

also some bulk cider/ juice you buy is already made from scraps cut from apple.


Nikola_Chestla1 karma

I cannot tolerate any kind of grain or corn, so the only way to get drunk without using the nuclear weapons of brain destruction is cider. It gains traction here in Germany but when I ask if someone wants a cider they still look me in the eyes like I'm crazy.

Who is crazy? I or the three guys starring at me from the mirrors that surround me to get over the loneleyness this pandemic brought to us...

Keep up your good work.

American_Cider2 karma

thanks - yeah it is a long road to get people to accept it but here in the usa people have embraced it!

I_smokey1 karma

Have you tried Norwegian cider?

American_Cider1 karma

no i have not, I know there a few estate producers, but none that I have tried


American_Cider1 karma

could you recommend some?--dan

mob551 karma

My favorite Cider is the Asturian kind from living in Spain.

What would be a domestic equivalent I could purchase?

Are there types of ciders here that are not as carbonated like the Spanish ciders?

American_Cider2 karma

Asturian cider is pretty unique.

still, fruity, tannic, fruity.

there are some producers that make sidra style. embracing the mild va, with clean fresh style. You can also find Trabanco in the USA

son of basque in hood river

anxo sidra -

Tilted shed inclinado

Black duck ciders.


Jimbo_Jones_1 karma

Have you guys ever tried Dicken's Cider?

pickgoodcider2 karma

Fuck those guys.

American_Cider1 karma


Ciderstills1 karma

Are the differences between ciders in the US and UK a simple matter of climate and what apples we have access to, or more a product of American marketing and/or the clearing of orchards during prohibition?

American_Cider2 karma

First of all, no orchards were cleared during Prohibition. Cider had fallen out of widespread consumption by the 1870's. The biggest difference between the two countries cider histories is that in the 19th century american orchards specialized in growing apples for eating ( fresh or processed) and the UK and France grew and selected for cider apples.

in the 19th century, cider was the lowest return on investment for a farmers, with fresh apples being the highest. so there was no investment in the fields.

UK cider apples price is super low, and apple farmers barely make any money growing apples.

Today this plays out that raw materials are cheaper in the uk and most american cider are made from culled apples grown in MI, NY, CA, OR, WA that were going to other uses.

There is a new guard of cider makers in both countries that are growing apples and fermented differently.

So in simple its the intention of the orchards and the varieties they grow.

The future though is not in just importing varieties and trying to replicate the uk in the usa, but finding a new voice through local apples and apples from around the world. that being said uk varitites grown in the usa taste nothing like its uk counterparts


Steenies1 karma

What's your opinion of Old Rosie?

American_Cider1 karma

we don't get it over here in the USA- dan

atomicknyte1 karma

I got into cider after developing an allergy to something in beer. I love it. Also I am related to Johnny Appleseed. Did he appear in any of your research? What is his true story?

American_Cider1 karma

We have an entire chapter related to him


Is the best book on the matter