New York is the second leading apple producer in the country with about 50,000 acres of commercial apple farms. Despite having the perfect growing conditions for cider apples (an entirely different crop to eating apples), New York has about 100 bearing acres (1/500th) devoted to this different "little" apple. With the emergence of artisan cider, growers of true cider-apples had gained a voice in the legislative discussion defining what is "cider," no longer was it hydrated apple concentrate in a beer-bottle. But now, with the acknowledgement of the market (artisan cider sales are booming,) the majority of big apple farms are looking to cider as an another outlet for their fruit. This is called "value-added" production, it amounts to retrofitting a specific product (in this case cider) to fit what the farmer already produces (in this case eating apples.)
Value added cider production is very threatening to the quality of cider in New York because it puts an entire career- an entire art form- under the management of people who are devoted to something different: the management of a farm. And that's not assuming that value-added cider producers are growing the wrong apples in the first place. Yet for marketing's sake, those value-added cider makers will claim to be career artisans of the craft and make no mention of the fact they are only now on board. Big cider is unscrupulous with their claims, but the value-added cider maker is not much different. Legislators and customers have a difficult time distinguishing from the bottle, one can only know by taste. Hence, the voice of true cider is returning to bad odds and although artisans may be squeezed out of the spot light by big-farm and business opportunists, we can at least maintain a alternative choice for the customer. Unfortunately legislators, who are in the midst of deciding the regulatory definition of cider as we speak, no longer can hear the pleas from true artisans, the very people who got this ball rolling.