Hard Cider News Edition 8

These are some recent hard cider news/articles/links/posts/events I found interesting and have shared on Facebook lately.  To get the latest scoop, like Cider Says on Facebook!

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News

Oregon’s Best Hard Cider Destinations (New School Beer)

Hard Cider News January 2016 (Starfish Junction)

Hundreds of rare cider apples preserved in West country (BBC)

National Trust steps in to save 300 cider apple trees (The Telegraph)

Cider, flavors, even drones, will affect 2016 wine scene (N&R Greensboro)

What the Country’s New Cider Act Means for You (Eater)

Eric West’s Cider Guide weekly cider news from Jan 22 and Jan 29

Escape from the Boys’ Club: An Evening with Sirens and Ciders (Sip Northwest)

Mims Distributing Picks Up Blake’s Hard Cider Co. (Brewbound)

Portland Cider Co. Relocates to Clackamas in Big Expansion (New School Beer)

Article on Wassail (Bill Bradshaw)

NY Gov. Cuomo: Extend tax credits to wineries, cider makers (North County Public Radio

Q&A with Alpenfire’s Nancy Bishop (Capitol Cider)

Everything You Want to Know About Cider (Washingtonian)

Wilkinson: Pruning Apple Trees (VPR)

Cider Sisters (Good Times)

Eliza Greenman, Millennial Orchardist (Grit)

Events

Gathering of the New York Farm Cideries, Albany NY, Saturday February 27

Cider Rite of Spring, Portland OR, Saturday March 9th

PA Cider Fest, Biglerville PA near Gettysburg, Saturday June 25

Colorado Cider & Beer Circus 2016, Copper Mountain Colorado, Saturday August 27

Other

Cidermaker’s Took Kit Wiki (Northwest Cider)

Liberty Cider’s Cidergraphical

Hard Cider News Edition 7

These are some recent hard cider news/articles/links/posts/events I found interesting and have shared on Facebook lately.  To get the latest scoop, like Cider Says on Facebook!

cider news.png

News

Madison couple looks to launch into cider business with a niche product, Restoration Cider in Madison WI (Wisconsin State Journal)

Reid’s explains how to pair food and hard cider (Flip Side PA)

IRC Amendments Affecting Excise Tax Due Dates and Bond Requirements for Eligible Taxpayers and Revision of Hard Cider Definition (TTB)

Citizen Sweet: A Cider With Sparkle, No Alcohol (Seven Days VT)

Craft Beer Trends to Look Out For in 2016 (Fortune)

Shepton Mallet cider mill to close (The Guardian)

What the CIDER Act means for the Oregon cideries that helped pass it (Bizz Journals)

Milwaukee’s first hard-cider bar planned for Walker’s Point, Lost Valley Cider Co. (JS Online)

Changes To Federal Cider Rules Benefit Oregon Cider Makers (Eugene Weekly)

Craft Beer is the Lens, profile on Reverend Nat’s (CiderCraft magazine)

Local Cider Company Gets Back to the Roots, Roots Cider Co (Nashville Scene)

New Legislation Lowers Tax Burden for Hard Cider Producers (Time Warner Cable News Buffalo)

Bar Review: Cider Bite, in Portland OR (Willamette Week)

The Northman Will Have More than 100 Kinds of Hard Cider (Chicago Mag)

In Search Of The Best Apples To Make Hard Cider (Food Republic)

Cider 101: The Ultimate Guide to Apple Juice with a Kick (The Daily Meal)

Schumer: NY Could Soon Be At The Core Of Hard Cider Production (WAMC Northeast Public Radi0)

Understanding Maturation – Part 1: Know Your Casks (Drinking Cup)

Cider Sales See Big Decline in Growth in 2015 (Cider Journal)

Eric West’s Cider Guide from Dec 25, Jan 1, Jan 8, and Jan 15, where #9 or #10 of each includes some of my reviews

List of 2016 Good Food Awards Cider Winners: AEppelTreow Barn Swallow, Argus Malus Cuvée, Art + Science Wild Perry, Big B’s Pear Supply & Orchard Original, Eden Brandy Barrel Heirloom Blend & Sparkling Semi-Dry, Ela Stone Silo, Eve’s Albee Hill 2014, Finnriver Firebarrel, Shacksbury Lost and Found, and Snowdrift Cornice

Events

Capitol Cider in Seattle WA – Cider & Sirens 6 course paired dinner with Alpenfire Cider – Monday January 25 6pm (Seattleite)

Finger Lakes Cider House in Interlaken NY – Meet, Greet, Sip and Eat with Farnum Hill Cider – Saturday January 30 2-5pm (Facebook)

CiderCon – Portland OR – February 2-6 (CiderCraft magazine)

Cider Summit – Chicago IL – February 27 (The Full Pint)

Hard Cider News Edition 6

These are some recent hard cider news/articles/links/posts I found interesting and have shared on Facebook lately.  To get the latest scoop, like Cider Says on Facebook!

cider news

News

The CIDER Act passed!  There are now new tax laws for cider, increasing the max ABV to be taxed as cider (instead of the much higher wine rate) from 7% to 8.5%, including pear juice and apple & pear concentrate in addition to apple juice, and increasing the allowable carbonation level (above which the much higher champagne rate applies).  Its definitely a start, but still leaves a lot out.  (some articles from CSP Net, Press Republican, Marketplace, & KTVZ)

New Taproom in Luna Center [New Mexico Hard Cider Taproom] Offers Hub for Cider Lovers (Santa Fe New Mexican)

Vegetarian Cider House Wassail Fizzes in the Glass and Dazzles on the Plate (Village Voice)

Surprise Family with Something New for Thanksgiving: Craft Cider (Seattle Times)

Big Cider Brands Aren’t Seeing the Boom They Used To (CNBC)

Cider Industry Body Calls for Alcohol to be Included in New Country of Origin Labeling System [in Australia] (ABC Australia)

HOOPS ON HOPS: The ABCs of Hard Apple Cider (Deluth News Tribune)

Seaport Sightseeing Route Leads to Hard-Cider Heaven (USA Today), article on Olympic Peninsula cider route near Port Townsend WA with Finnriver, Alpenfire, & Eaglemount cideries

Pabst Brewing Partners with Vermont Hard Cider (Vermont Biz), so now Pabst has complete control over distribution of Vermont Hard Cider’s cider brands, which most notably include Woodchuck

Rochester’s First Hard Cider-Only Bar Opening (Democrat & Chronicle)

Blogs

Eric West’s Cider Guide from Nov 20Nov 27Dec 4Dec 11, and Dec 18, where #9 or #10 of each includes some of my reviews

5 Hard Ciders Seeking a Place at Your Holiday Table (The Street):  Woodchuck Hot Cha Cha Cha, WILDCIDE, Square Mile Spur & Vine, Spire Mountain Dark & Dry, and Virtue Lapinette Cidre Brut

Woodchuck Winter Chill Snickerdoodles! (Woodchuck), recipe

DIY CiderTime (Farnum Hill / Poverty Lane Orchards), article on home cidermaking complete with infographics

American Hard Cider Hits the Sweet Spot (Gourmet Retailer)

Magazines

Cider Makes a Comeback in New York (High Brow Magazine), featuring  Descendant (NY), Farnum Hill (NH), Aaron Burr (NY), West County Cider (MA), and Reverend Nat’s (OR)

Holiday Gift Guide: 10 Cider-Centric Presents (CiderCraft)

Hard Cider News Edition 5

These are some recent hard cider news/articles/links/posts I found interesting and have shared on Facebook lately.  To get the latest scoop, like Cider Says on Facebook!

News

Cider Industry Body Calls for Alcohol to be Included in New Country of Origin Labellng System, ABC Australia

Wine Meets Cider in Local Mixologist’s New Blend (cider made with yeast byproduct of rosé wine), Washington’s Top News

Saving an Apple Orchard May Graft an Industry’s Growth, Capitol Press

Hard Cider Catches Eye of Home Brewers, Star Tribune

10 Hard Ciders You’ve Never Heard of, But Need to Try (I’ve heard of 9/10), Culture Cheat Sheet

Say Hello To The Apple That Never Browns, Buzz Feed

10 Local Hard Ciders for Your Thanksgiving Table, Oregon Live

Five Super-Fresh Cider Cocktails, Punch Drink

The Story of Cider: How It Got Cool, and Why People Should Stop Freaking Out About An Apple Shortage, Vine Pair

Northwest Travel: Cider Country, Bend Bulletin

Blogs

Believing In Cider At The Hard Core Cider Tour, One Punk Army

Weekly Cider News (Oct 30), Eric West’s Cider Guide, where #9 includes some of my reviews

Weekly Cider News (Nov 6), Eric West’s Cider Guide, where #9 includes some of my reviews

Weekly Cider News (Nov 13), Eric West’s Cider Guide, where #9 includes some of my reviews

Six Tips for Making Thanksgiving a Cider-Centric Holiday, Cider Journal

The Feral Cider Society – Looking for the Future of American Cider on the Side of the Road, Tasting Table

Blackfin Hard Cider Launches Fresh Estate-Grown Cider in Cans, New School Beer

Magazines

Top 8 Events at Cider Week Virginia, CiderCraft Magazine

Spotlight: Sonoma Cider, Paste Magazine

The Drink that Built a Nation – Bubbling a Revolution in Washington State, WSU Magazine

Liberty Ciderworks – What are Trained Architects Doing Making Hard Cider?, WSU Magazine

The Hunt for a $1 Billion Apple, The Week

In Preview: (Franklin County) CiderDays, CiderCraft Magazine

Hard Cider News Edition 4

These are some recent hard cider news/articles/links/posts I found interesting and have shared on Facebook lately.  To get the latest scoop, like Cider Says on Facebook!

Article from Afar, Cider Takes the West, profiling cider bars & tasting rooms, including the Schilling Cider House

Article from Travel & Leisure magazine, Six Great American Towns for Hard Cider, including Portland OR

Article from Inlander, How ‘Bout Them Apples, about the booming cider scene in Spokane, including a feature on Liberty Ciderworks

Schedule for the next CiderCon, Feb 2-5 in Portland OR (this is the cider industry’s biggest convention)

Article from Rodale’s Organic Life, Why The Apples We Eat Today Are Not The Ones Our Grandparents Enjoyed

Article from Komo News, There’s A New Cider Tap Room In Seattle (Number 6 Cider)

Article from Independent UK, Apple Day 2015: 10 Best British Bottled Ciders

  • Too bad we don’t get most of these in the U.S. I’ve seen/tried Worley’s & Sheppy’s, and have a Hogan’s cider selection at home to try.  My favorite from the UK so far is Sheppy’s Oak Matured. Some cideries here make some awesome English-style cider too, such as Liberty Ciderworks.

Article from ABC News, Want to Drink Like a Pilgrim This Thanksgiving? Drink Cider

  • Eden Sparkling Dry would definitely get a vote from me. However, folks will be hard pressed to find Dragon’s Head Kingston Black as it was a very limited release (although I have a bottle!).
  • Two ciders that have been very well received with guests at my house are SnowdriftRed (made from red-fleshed apples and is very fruity & complex) and Dan Armor Cuvée Spéciale Cidre Brut (from Brittany France available for only $5, only at Trader Joe’s). Both are pretty middle of the road for sweetness and can appeal to a lot of folks.

Interview from Cider Journal, Q&A With Head Cidermaker of America’s Best Selling Cider (Ryan Burk, Angry Orchard)

Article from 7×7, 5 Sonoma County Ciders to Sip This Fall

  • I’ve been wanting to try Tilted Shed (heard a lot of good things about them). I’ve had most of the lineups from Sonoma Cider & Ace. Hadn’t even heard of Devoto or Specific Gravity!

Article from Awesome Mitten, Experience Autumn in Mid Michigan at Almar Orchards (J.K.’s Scrumpy)

Article from Amtrack’s magazine of all places, How the Hard Stuff Became the Hottest Drink in the Northeast

Article from Seattle Weekly, Beer Hunter: The Berry Cider Boom (profiles on 5 PNW berry ciders)

  • I’ve had all five of these!

Article from Columbus Monthly, Cider, All Grown Up

Article from Wine Enthusiast on The Best French Ciders You Should Drink This Fall

  • I’ve had different varieties of Le Brun and Eric Bordelet, and have Le Père Jules Brut at home to try. Not sure I’ve seen the other two.

Article from Telegraph UK, How One Man Hopes to Put Delicious Fruit Back in Our Hedgerows

Article from Herald Net, Alworth Explains All Things Cider in ‘Cider Made Simple’ (new book)

Article from Local Flavor Magazine, New Mexico’s Artisanal Hard Ciders

Article from Herald Net, Everett Man Grows More Than 150 Types of Apples on 25 Trees (grafting)

Article from Burlington Free Press, Woodchuck Hard Cider Announces Layoffs

Article from New School Beer, Cider Bite, a New NW Portland Cider Tap Room, Now Open

Article from Inlander, Pressing Issues – Making Cider on a Fine Autumn Afternoon on the Palouse

Article from NJ.com, Hard Cider Continues to Stir Up More and More Fans

Article from Chicago Tribune, Cider Cocktails offer a Sparkly Alternative for Fall Quaffing

Podcast from Good Beer Hunting, Kevin Zielinski of E.Z. Orchards Cider

Interview from New School Beer, Interview with the Founders of Women’s Cider Group, the Pomme Boots Society

Article from Muchies, New York City’s Free, Foraged Fruit Makes the Best Cider

Video segment about Washington Cider Week on New Day Northwest in Seattle

Hard Cider News Edition 3

I think we’re well overdue for a news post here.  These are some recent hard cider news/articles/links/posts I found interesting and have shared on Facebook lately.  To get the latest scoop, like Cider Says on Facebook!

News:

Cider Riot! Signs with Maletis Beverage from Brewbound

A new website to buy cider online launched, ShipCider.com

Woodinville Ciderworks (Woodinville WA) launched at Cider Summit

Rootwood Cider (Chelan WA) launched a few weeks ago

The first LA Cider Fest was last weekend

Craft Cider: How to Turn Apples into Alcohol, a book by Jeff Smith, was released

Cider Made Simple: All About Your New Favorite Drink, a book by Jeff Alworth, was released

“cidery” was added to the Oxford English dictionary

Sicera: Getting Certified in Cider from Cider Craft (cider certification program from United States Association of Cider Makers)

Along came a cider: Milton-Freewater brewer moving up state ranks from East Oregonian

Anheuser-Busch Plans Bud Light Apple from Beer Street Journal

Anheuser-Busch Takes Majority Stake in Michigan’s Virtue Cider from Brew Bound

Also, Cider Guide did a neat cider news recap post lately.

Video/Photos:

Cider Hunters trailer (Bill Bradshaw & Pete Brown are fundraising to do a documentary on cider in America)

Washington Cider Week segment with Alpenfire on Komo in Seattle

New Day Northwest Washington Cider Week segment with Bill Bradshaw

Nashi Orchards on Vashon Island photos from Komo in Seattle

Articles:

Cider & Food Pairings infographic from NW Cider

Your Ultimate Cider Cheat Sheet from Tasting Table

New York City’s Free, Foraged Fruit Makes the Best Cider from Muchies

Everything You Need to Know About Cider (and Why You Should Stop Calling it “Hard”) from SF Gate

The Best Local Ciders This Fall (For When You’re Sick Of Pumpkin Everything) from Brooklyn Magazine

Take a bite out of taxation: the core issues of the CIDER Act from Lexology

Time To Allow Use of Harvest Dates on Cider Labels from Cider Journal

Critical Drinking – Greg Hall of Virtue Cider from Good Beer Hunting

Inherited Heritage: Discovering Perry in the Northwest from Sip Northwest

No Cause for Ferment Over Sale of Virtue Cider to Conglomerate from Cider Journal

Upcoming Events:

Cider Swig, Sept 26, Gig Harbor WA

2 Towns Harvest Party (5th Annual), Oct 3, Corvallis OR

NW Ciderfest, Oct 10 & 11, Pioneer Square in Seattle WA Portland OR

CiderFest North Carolina, Nov 7, Asheville NC

Cider Week NYC, Nov 6-15, New York City NY

Franklin County Cider Days, Nov 7 & 8, Franklin County MA

Do You Know Why So Many Hard Ciders are 6.9% ABV?

Do you know why so many hard ciders are 6.9% ABV?  I had heard some talk about 7% ABV being some sort of cut off as far as taxes, and was curious enough to do some research:

Under current federal laws, hard cider by definition is only allowed to be up to 7% alcohol by volume (ABV) before it gets taxed at the more expensive rate for wine.  Additionally, there are even limits on the level of carbonation before it gets taxed at the very expensive rate for champagne.  Therefore, many ciders weigh in at 6.9% ABV, just under the 7% cutoff.

This is a very current issue, as the Cider Investment and Development through Excise Tax Reduction (CIDER) Act aims to combat this and other cider classification & taxation discrepancies.  Cidermakers are currently lobbying legislators to enact the CIDER Act, which would update the tax code to treat hard cider differently than wine or champagne.

It can be difficult for cidermakers to predict & precisely control the ABV and carbonation levels of their ciders.  Scott Donovan, a member of the board of the U.S. Association of Cider Makers, says hard cider’s alcohol content can vary between 5.5% and 8% ABV, depending on the type of apples used and the time of the year the cider is made (source).  I’ve also seen products with higher and lower ABV levels.

This isn’t all about taxes.  There is also a significant economic potential, as apparently there are currently many apples that could be used for cider that aren’t.  However, taxes are a major reason.  This effects the consumer as a cider which costs more to produce & sell is typically priced higher.  Also, some cidermakers desire to carbonate their ciders higher, but currently avoid doing so due to the “champagne tax” (source).

Current federal tax levels (source):

  • $1.07 per gallon, still wines < 14% ABV
  • $1.57 per gallon, still wines < 21% ABV
  • $3.15 per gallon, still wines with 21-24% ABV
  • $3.40 per gallon, champagne & other sparkling wines (3.92 grams per liter carbonation; source)
  • $3.30 per gallon, artificially carbonated wines
  • $0.23 per gallon, hard cider which is a still wine derived primarily from apples or apple concentrate & water, containing no other fruit product, and containing 0.5% to 7% ABV
    • There is however a $0.056 credit for the first 100,000 gallons by a small cidery not producing not more than 150,000 gallons per year (source).

By comparison, beer is taxed at $0.58 per gallon, or $0.23 per gallon for the first 60,000 gallons produced by small scale breweries which produce less than 2 million gallons per year (source).

IN SUMMARY:  Currently ciders which are more than 7% ABV are taxed as wine.  Also, regardless of ABV, if they have a high level of carbonation, they are taxed as champagne.  Both wine & champagne tax rates are significantly higher than those for beer.  Also, consider that wine & champagne typically have a lower ABV than cider, so when considering a tax per gallon it isn’t very consistent.

The goals of the CIDER Act are:

  • Allow higher carbonation in cider without it being taxed like champagne
  • Include pears in the definition of “hard cider”
  • Align the alcohol-content standard for hard cider with the natural sugar content of apples (at least 8.5% ABV)

The CIDER Act can help level the playing field between beer, wine, & cider.  They tried to pass this in 2013, but no such luck (source).  In February 2015 this passed the Senate Finance Committee, and now awaits the Senate floor (source).  In August there were some additional meetings (source).  So, hopefully there will be progress soon.  Note that there are also taxes at the state level, which are separate from this act.

Please support the CIDER Act!  The U.S. Association of Cider Makers website says what we can do.  Take action.