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Fruit and Cider Talk from Calais, Vermont. Maintained by Terry Bradshaw, fruit guy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vermont the #1 cidermaker in US?

Hi Terry,

SF here--I interviewed you in the fall for an article for the
Montpelier Bridge. Question: someone told me VT is the largest producer
of hard cider in the U.S. True? False? Somewhere in between?
Thanks so much! Hope your workshop at NOFA was a success.

My response:
It's possible that VT is the biggest producer of "hard cider" in the US,
if only because of the presence of Green Mountain Cidery (in
Middlebury), makers of Woodchuck and Cider Jack ciders. They were once
under ownership of Bulmer's UK, the largest cidermakers in the world.
That said, their products are what we call 'industrial ciders'; highly
doctored and not exactly naturally fermented. The process usually is
such: cheap juice (often foreign concentrate) sugared up to double the
alcohol level, ferment fast and dry, water back to 5% abv, add more
apple juice concentrate to sugar it up and replace any flavor or nuance
that were not there after the previous bastardization, pasteurize,
sorbate, sulfite, force carbonate, bottle, and sell on the nearest
alco-pop shelf alongside such concoctions as "Twisted Tea" and "Hard

Real cider from real juice is probably most made in Oregon, only a guess
but there's a handful of operations out there. NY has a number as well,
as does New England (but only one or maybe two per state it seems).

See my bias?

Thanks for the question...makes me feel like an expert.