Lately I’ve been curious to learn more about the major cider regions in the U.S. The Pacific Northwest (WA & OR), NY, and MI (Great Lakes / Finger Lakes) come to mind. I was also surprised to learn that CA is a major cider producer, and PA is a major apple producer.
Apples are grown commercially in 32/50 states in the U.S. It all started on the East Coast in colonial times. The top ten apple producing states in the U.S. are WA, NY, MI, PA, CA, VA, NC, OR, OH, and ID.
Here is some information about the top five apple producing states:
Washington – Apples primarily grown in the Yakima valley, while the majority of the cideries are in the greater Seattle area.
New York – Apples grown primarily in the Hudson and Champlain valleys, while many of the cideries are in the Hudson valley.
Michigan – Apples grown primarily in the Northwest corner of the Northern Lower Peninsula and the lower half of the state, same as the cideries.
Pennsylvania – Apples grown throughout the state, but comparatively there are few cideries.
California – Apples primarily grown in the San Joaquin Valley, while many of the cideries in contrast are in Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
When it comes to which state has the most cideries, the statistics get a bit murky. However, its pretty clear the top five in some order are NY, WA, OR, MI, and CA. The stats are further complicated as some wineries, breweries, and even meaderies make cider.
Here are examples of some well-known craft cideries in each of those states:
New York – Eve’s, Aaron Burr, Bad Seed, Bellwhether, Nine Pin, Slyboro
Washington – Finnriver, Snowdrift, Tieton, Alpenfire, Whitewood, Westcott Bay, Dragon’s Head
Oregon – E.Z. Orchards, 2 Towns, Reverend Nat’s, Blue Mountain, Wandering Aengus
Michigan – Virtue, J.K.’s Scrumpy, Uncle John’s, Tandem, Vander Mill
California – Sonoma Cider, Tilted Shed, Julian Hard Cider
Thats not to say cider isn’t available from cideries in other states. Many have numerous cideries. PA, CO, VT, NC, MA, NH, and VA come to mind. Its also difficult to look at it by state as the populations & landmasses vary so much. However, demand for cider is definitely skyrocketing, and new cideries are opening every week. Cider grew 70% each of the last two years!
Cydermarket is a very cool website with a directory of cideries by state.
World’s Best Ciders book (Bill Bradshaw & Pete Brown)