In June 2012, I (Eric) began a quest to visit and interview as many commercial cider producers in the United States and Canada as my time and budget would allow. The goal was to compile this research into a published guidebook called The Cider Guide to North America. The project simmered on the back burner for most of 2013, mostly due to work commitments. My wife Melissa has helped me resurrect the project, now titled The New American Cider Guide. As we work on completing the book, we plan to write a series of posts that document these extensive road trips, complete with photos and tasting notes from Eric’s many cider-related visits.
July 2013 — New England and Quebec
RI: Ciders of Spain
MA: Bantam, Downeast
NH: Farnum Hill
VT: Flag Hill, Citizen, Eden Ice Cider
QC: La Face Cachée de la Pomme, Michel Jodoin, Les Vergers de la Colline, Domaine Pinnacle, Clos Saragnat
NY: Nine Pin, Slyboro, Rowan Imports, Standard Cider Company
December 2012 — Hudson Valley & NYC
NY: Aaron Burr, Naked Flock, Kettleborough, Murray’s Cheese, Astor Wines, Queens Kickshaw
October 2012 — Great Lakes
IN: Thomas Family, Huber’s, Oliver/Beanblossom, New Day, McClure’s
IL: Virtue, Prima
MI: Robinette’s, Sietsema’s, Vander Mill, Uncle John’s, Left Foot Charley, Black Star, Tandem, Northern Natural, Almar/JK’s Scrumpy
OH: Griffin, Tom’s Foolery
PA: Rebellion, Arsenal
VA: Laird’s, Bold Rock
July 2012 — Western US and British Columbia
TX: Leprechaun, Argus
CA: Julian, Osocalis, Red Branch, AppleGarden, Tilted Shed, Apple Sauced, Philo Apple Farm, Two Rivers
OR: 2 Towns, EZ Orchards, Wandering Aengus, Finnegan, Carlton, Bushwhacker, Reverend Nat’s, Bull Run, Blue Mountain
WA: Whitewood, Eaglemount, Alpenfire, Finnriver, Westcott Bay, Methow Valley, Snowdrift, Tieton
BC: Merridale, Sea Cider
MT: Montana CiderWorks
June 2012 — Mid-Atlantic
VA: Castle Hill, Potters, Old Hill
MD: Distillery Lane
PA: Jack’s, Colonel Ricketts
NY: Bellwether, Catharine Valley, Redbyrd, Doc’s Draft, Bad Seed, Tuthilltown
This project is completely self-financed, so I will need a great deal of help to keep my travel expenses—particularly lodging—to an absolute minimum. I am a seasoned adventure traveler with thru-hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail under my belt as well as a handful of successful self-contained bicycle tours in the US and Europe, so I plan to tent camp whenever possible. If you can offer (or help me find) a safe, quiet place where I can rest my head at night, that would mean more to me than any financial support. My wife and I are active members of CouchSurfing and have a well-established track record for hosting travelers and being respectful guests, so please consider hosting me if you are able. I also wouldn’t say no to a meal or a bottle of cider or two to share with my hosts down the line!
I formerly worked as an editor on the Yahoo! Directory where I discovered outstanding online content and wrote reviews of websites in my areas of expertise, namely Outdoors and Food & Drink. I was also instrumental in the launch of Burritophile, a community-driven website devoted to reviewing taquerias and their shiny-foiled wares. As you can see from the My Burrito Vacation post, I have always been interested in helping people find good food and drink! In December 2011 I passed the Certified Cicerone exam, a rigorous test of beer knowledge that includes written, tasting, and demonstration components. In December 2012 I passed the BJCP Beer Tasting Exam and currently hold the rank of Recognized. I was honored to serve as a judge at GLINTCAP 2012 and joined the staff as registrar at GLINTCAP 2013. I have also attended many cider events such as CiderDays in Massachusetts and the Cidermakers’ Forum at Albemarle CiderWorks.
I have volunteered, interned, and worked at various organic farms and have seen first-hand how difficult it is to make a living at a small agricultural enterprise. I’ve also been influenced and inspired by writers like Wendell Berry and Gary Nabhan who speak of the pleasures of good food and the importance of strong rural economies. Increasing the diversity of fruit varieties grown in North America—particularly cider apples and perry pears—is a cause that’s worth supporting. Every cidermaker I’ve met is passionate about what he or she does and is clearly taking a great risk to craft products that so few people have even tasted!
Let’s Do It!
Thanks in advance for your support of this project! Please be in touch with any additions or corrections to The World Map of Cider, and stay tuned to Cider Guide for updates on my progress.