Friday, December 5, 2014

A Letter to You, the Customer, Regarding Your Role in Real, Traditional Cider.

  The amount of media focus we’ve received is flattering (and I’d like to think a little warranted), but it’s important to share that attention with the hundreds of small cideries recently opening and looking to use local apples in the tradition that once made cider America’s community drink and nightly beverage.  I point to Eric West’s “Cider Guide” map as a source for finding the cideries nearest you. 

  But it’s important to do your research!!! Not all cideries use local apples and very few abide by the rules of nature which dictates the flavor of cider.  It is the apple tree that dictates the flavor and it should not be over-ruled by customer expectation (or the cider-maker's guess for what the customer wants.) Therefore, it’s not possible to mass-produce real, traditional cider. Taste homogenization, year-round product availability and shelf-stability are the very things which brought inanimate drinks (like mass-market beers and wines) to fore-front.  Cost is not the main issue, it is knowledge. Without your knowledge we cider-makers stand on the other side of a wall. 

  Again, you must do your research. You must understand the life-cycle of the apple tree, the process of fermentation, and your responsibility in keeping a live beverage in proper storage.  And then you must communicate with the producers.  Yes, that’s work.  Does that sound unreasonable? I’m sorry, but if you want accountability, accessibility, and transparency then there is no other way.  Same goes for wine.  If I’m the first to challenge you on this issue then something’s wrong.  I’m telling you the truth about how real cider (and wine) is made, and anyone who doesn’t disclose where they got the fruit and how they process it is keeping you on the other side of the wall for a good reason.  It’s time to take back real cider.  It’s not up to the cider-makers alone.  It’s up to you as well.