Knowing your 'market'
Recently the annual discussion of what defines 'real' cider, and
therefore a commercial cidery's target market, has come up on cider
digest. Well I'm not in the commercial (hard) cider business, but my
mill does sell juice. I look at the somewhat stagnant cider market as
similar to the homebrewing (beer) market in the early 80's. At that
time there were folks who wanted something different from what was
available commercially, and they took matters into their own hands to
make great beers and resurrect lost styles or even create new ones. I
aim to provide adventurous folks with the raw materials to do the same
with cider. My cidermaking blends are comprised of varieties
specifically designed to make a great fermented product. and with few
folks out there doing so I guess I am a bit of a pioneer in the field.
Yes, craft cider has has a resurgence in the past ten or so years, but
it's really taking its time due to many factors. One is the passing off
of rather crap industrial cider as the real thing. When a drinker
tastes Woodchuck, expecting a nuanced beverage, they are slapped with
the simplicity you will get when making 'cider' from glucose wine and
back-sweetened concentrate. My cider stock is a different thing, which
leads to another impediment to the development of a large home cider
movement- the quality of juice available to would-be cidermakers. In
this same past ten years the commercial juice scene has declined
dramatically after the Odwalla and other pathogen outbreaks to where
many orchards gave up their cider mills and many that do make juice run
under a separate operation using packinghouse culls of boring (from a
cider standpoint) dessert fruit. Again, I am offering a break from all
of that, and my blends tailored specifically to cidermaking provide the
base ingredients for a great cider. Add to that the seasonal nature of
the business, where if you miss it now you need to wait another full
year for the juice to come around again,and potential cider aficionados
can easily miss out.
So come on down to the mill this fall for your chance to get some juice
that is frankly hard to find and will set you up to make a great cider.
You won't regret it, even if you make a funky batch. Before long you'll
be hooked and will absolutely have to get your juice each fall. Hell,
you may even be crazy enough about to sink your cash into an orchard
and mill of your own, and I'll be begging for your juice.