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Hard Cider Gains Popularity: SLO & Bakersfield Companies Expanding

August 30,2014

What would Johnny Appleseed Say?

Basque drinkers in  a cider house. Johnny Appleseed would approve

Basque drinkers in a cider house. Johnny Appleseed would approve

Paso Robles-based Lone Madrone winery has expanded its offerings to include hard cider like they serve in England. The company has opened the Bristol Cider House in Atascadero where you can get hard cider not just in a bottle but on tap.The cider house us located at 3220 El Camino Real.

According to their website it started like this. “Bristols cider is a part of the Lone Madrone winery, owned and operated by brother and sister Neil and Jackie and Neil’s wife Marci. Jackie and Neil grew up in the West Country of England which is very much cider country. We are not talking murky apple juice here but the fermented version. When Neil moved to California he was disappointed to find none of the traditional beverage of his home, of which he had been known to partake on occasion. So in 1994 Neil began making small batches of cider from local apples under the Bristols name.”

It grown from there like it has across the US – out of dorm room operations into the mainstream.

Of course SLOs apple growing district includes SeeCanyon where  three cider makers use apples from this area.

The alcoholic drink is popular in Europe including parts of France and Poland.Now the trend is coming to Johnny Appleseed’s home turf as  younger drinkers here appear to be ready to experiment beyond beer and wine. According to the Beer Institute, a beer industry association, domestic cider production rose by 264 percent between 2005 and 2012 .

Bulk Product

Near Bakersfield Langers Juice Company is ready to go for it on a larger scale.The company is already one of the 10 largest juice makers in the USA. The company just received approval to expand into apple cider brewing at their plant 9.5 miles east of Taft.

They will install a brewery in a 4230sf building next to where they process fruit juices including apples, pomegranates and peaches.

According to their Kern County application – the plant will crush 48 tons of raw apples per week operating year-round. Kern County has about a thousand acres of apples. California is the nations fifth largest apple producer with fruit coming off the trees from July through October.At issue ,will there be enough apples it this boom continues.

Besides this addition the company plans to add three more buildings to the site including an office,cold storage and restroom with a parking lot for 85. Langer operates four juice plants in the state where it presses and bottles juices and makes carbonated juices.

This project was approved by the Kern County Planning Commission August 14.

Anheuser-Busch’s parent company InBev has added hard cider to their offerings earlier this year.
Johnny Appleseed Hard Apple Cider has been described as a “sweet and intense hard apple cider” in their advertising. Johnny Appleseed has an alcohol content of 5.5% and includes apple juice from fruit harvested in the U.S. and outside the country with the cider made in Baldwinsville, N.Y.
Hard cideralcohol content varies from 1.2% ABV to 8.5% or more in traditional English ciders, and 3.5% to 12% in continental ciders.
By the way – one story is that “Johnny Appleseed’s apples were for cidermaking, not eating, as the alcoholic beverage was safer to drink than water.) But when Prohibition went into effect, stringent laws restricting the production of even non-alcoholic cider caused orchards to stop growing cider apples altogether, dealing our cider tradition — and the apples themselves — a death blow.”

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