Hard Cider Production Resources

By: Denise M. Gardner

On January 13th, Penn State Extension hosted their first Hard Cider Production workshop at the Fruit Research and Extension Center (FREC) in Biglerville, PA. The day was filled with various speakers from New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia with perspectives from various Mid-Atlantic state hard cider industries. Topics were focused on the economics of hard cider production in the Mid-Atlantic, experiences with growing apples for hard cider production, how to produce hard cider, and orchard considerations for new hard cider apple variety growers.

Attendees of the 2015 Hard Cider Production workshop captivated by the lecture series.

Attendees of the 2015 Hard Cider Production workshop captivated by the lecture series.

Attendees of the 2015 Hard Cider Production workshop tasting a series of hard ciders from around the world.

Attendees of the 2015 Hard Cider Production workshop tasting a series of hard ciders from around the world.

Hard ciders tasted at the 2015 Hard Cider Production workshop.

Hard ciders tasted at the 2015 Hard Cider Production workshop.

The program was incredibly successful and included a tasting of 8 different hard ciders, emphasizing the variation in styles and flavor currently available on the market:

  • Bellweather King Baldwin Hard Cider: With the least residual sugar, this light weight, well-balanced, dry cider had a lingering finish of citrus and apple flavors. For those getting into the industry, this is a good example of a well-made, clean hard cider.
  • Distillary Lane Jefferson Hard Cider: One of the oakier ciders provided during the tasting, with prominent vanilla, oak and light apple flavors.
  • Dupont Bouche Hard Cider: An amber color with a Brettanomyces aroma and flavor dominating the cider. Sweetness was well integrated and matched well with the barnyard flavors. A good example of Burgundian ciders.
  • Eve’s Cidery Bittersweet Hard Cider: Floral with complementing cooked apple flavors, carbon dioxide was light and tasted less sweet than intended due to its tannic mouthfeel.
  • Good Intent Good Charmat Hard Cider: A local, PA-produced cider with light petulance and butterscotch notes in addition to the apple juice aroma. Semi-sweet.
  • Henney’s Vintage Hard Cider: This golden-yellow cider was the subject of much discussion. Flavors of Band-Aid and nailpolish dominated the nose, but had more apple flavor on the palate to supplement the acidic, acetic acid flavors.
  • Big Hill Standard Hard Cider: Produced from a local cidery in PA, the light cooked apple favor of this cider was prominent with its sweetened mouthfeel.
  • Bold Rock Hard Cider: A producer from New York that is producing a more commercial style of hard cider. This hard cider emphasized vanilla and light apple notes with a well-integrated and sweetened finish.
Analysis details of hard ciders tasted during the Penn State Extension Hard Cider Production 2015 workshop.

Analysis details of hard ciders tasted during the Penn State Extension Hard Cider Production 2015 workshop.

Attendees had many focused questions in various topic areas, which acknowledged the lack of resources available for the hard cider entrepreneur. The following lists a series of resources that were provided at this workshop that may be good starting points if you or your business is looking into hard cider production.

Consider Attending the Next Penn State Extension Hard Cider Production Workshop

This workshop focused on individuals that were thinking about or in the planning stages of building a business around hard cider production.

 

Text Books on Hard Cider Production

“Sweet and Hard Cider” by Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols

“The New Cider Maker’s Handbook” by Claude Jolicoeur

 

Online Publications for Apple Growers

“Antique Apples for Modern Orchards” by Ian Merwin, NY Fruit Quarterly 2009

“Growing Apples for Craft Ciders” by Ian Merwin (future issue of NY Fruit Quarterly)

WSU Bulletin on Cider Program in Mt. Vernan

 

Online Publications for Hard Cider Production

Hard Cider Production at Virginia Tech

Fermentation Protocols from Washington State University

Cider Juice Analysis Protocol from Washington State University

Scott Labs Hard Cider Fermentation Protocol

 

Cider Organizations and Conferences

US Association for Cider Makers

Cider & Perry Academy

CiderCon (Chicago, IL)

 

Online Information or Websites

Wittenham Hill Cider Pages

Scott Labs Hard Cider Handbook

Penn State Extension Fruit Times

Old Time Cider (with additional resources)

 

Other Extension Programs Useful for the Hard Cider Producer

Penn State Extension – Wine Quality Improvement Workshop: Wine Defect Identification, Prevention, and Remediation

Cornell University: Cider & Perry Production – Principles and Practice Workshop

Penn State Extension – Sanitation Short Course

Warwickshire College Hard Cider Production Workshop

Northwest Agricultural Business Center Hard Cider & Perry Production Workshop

Oregon State University Craft Cidery Start Up Workshop

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