Categories
Cider

InCider Insights with Lee Reeve, Volume 6

What’s in a name? According to David Schuemann, author of 99 Bottles of WineNaming and branding can be a powerful combination when developed correctly. Together they form the vision and the essence of your brand, communicate the benefit of your product, and ultimately support an emotional connection with your target consumer.”

When it comes to product names and emotional connections, I am gleefully guilty. Nothing gets my curiosity piqued and insides desirous like being teased by a cider called “El Chavo,” “Inclinado,” or “Frequin Good.”

Each month I ask one question to three cidermakers with the intent to compare the similarities and differences between artists of the same craft. And since we’re talking about branding ciders, February’s question is:


Mark McTavish, Founder
101 Cider House (Los Angeles)

There is a story behind every name. We have developed a unique nomenclature for our natural ciders, drawing inspiration from the ingredients and the people behind each blend.

Our top sellers are named using descriptors, setting a clear expectation of what’s inside each can. Examples are “Cactus Rosé” (prickly and pink), “Black Dog” (a black cider made with activated charcoal), or the aptly named “Gunpowder Guava” (fresh guava and gunpowder green tea).

For our seasonal offerings we like to get a bit more playful, teasing consumer interest with cheeky monikers like “Frosted Tips” (spruce tips and fresh-picked spearmint) or “3 Day Weekend” (a summer crusher made with strawberry and hibiscus).

Last but not least are our limited offerings, where we like to tell a short story with each name. We target craft beer fans with “Hipster Brunch” (mosaic hops, peaches and pink sea salt), and old world cider drinkers will be drawn to “Sagardo Eskozia” (a Basque style cider aged in single malt Scotch barrels).

James Forbes, Co-Founder & Head Cidermaker
Little Pomona Orchard & Cidery (Herefordshire, England)

Just as we don’t set out to make specific ciders – it’s more that they emerge or are discovered among the ferments – so it is with the naming.

Music is important to us at Little Pomona and not just emotionally. The ever-changing soundtrack that plays daily, helps power us through our work. I guess it’s not surprising that many of our cuvée names are inspired by the tunes and bands we’re listening too.

“On the Beech” for example, a beautiful, vinous cider emerged from a rare and much underappreciated apple variety, White Beech, and is named after the similarly underappreciated and ethereally brilliant, Neil Young album of the same name.

“Old Man & the Bee,” our annual release exploring the terroir and seasonality of our home orchard, is named principally after Mark Murray, the retired farmer who planted it, as well as the bees and other pollinators on which we rely. Metaphorically speaking, we kind of feel Hemmingway’s Old Man and the Sea and orchard-based cidermaking are closely aligned.

Tariq Ahmed, Founder and Cidermaker
Revel Cider Company (Ontario, Canada)

Our inspiration for names comes from loads of places (sometimes literary fiction and sometimes places we’ve been). But for the most part, we’re trying to capture the energy of a given beverage. For example, “Soif” (French for “thirst”) is the name of a cider we make that is one of our most quaffable blends. Strawberries, cherries and Zweigelt grape skins on a base of heritage apples makes for an experience that reminds us of jolly ranchers. The name of Soif was inspired by Vin de Soif, those easygoing wines that we love to come back to time and time again.

Lee Reeve is the owner-operator of inCiderJapan GK (www.inciderjapan.com), an importer/distributor, retailer, and producer of cider and cider-related goods. He is also the publisher of inCiderJapan, Asia’s first and only bilingual magazine dedicated to all things cider.

Lee Reeve can be reached at [email protected].

Categories
Cider

InCider Insights with Lee Reeve, Volume 4

In this regular column, I pose a single question to three cidermakers in an attempt to discover the similarities and differences between artists of the same craft.

If you’re anything like me, the fact that we’ve made it through to the end of this tumultuous year seems an incredible — if not unbelievable — feat, so I thought I’d reach out for some positive vibes moving forward. Personally speaking, I have my first trip abroad since 2019 that I’m absolutely over the moon about, so it was only natural for me to ask:

What are you and your cidery most looking forward to in 2022?

Steve Garwood, Head Cidermaker and Managing Partner
Ragged Hill Cider Company (Boston, Mass.)

In 2019 we planted a new apple variety called “Franklin” which has been rumored to be a great cider apple. Franklin was developed from a wild seedling in Vermont but it’s so new that no one I know has made a significant quantity of cider with these apples. Our 50 trees on semi vigorous rootstock will take a few more years to mature, but this fall we got two bushels of fantastic sweet, acidic, tannic (though small) apples. I can’t wait to taste the cider. Should be ready by February 2022.

Magdalena Egger, Junior Manager
Floribunda (Salorno, South Tyrol, Italy)

We will probably be sliding into the new year bottling. One of the benefits of the cold days, besides cross-country skiing, are the good conditions for our bottle fermentation. Every year it is thrilling to wait for the new vintage and finally taste it, but this year even more. It is the first vintage made in our new cidery and the house microflora has still to build up. A further change in the cidery is the launch of our first collaboration with a befriended winemaker and distiller.

COVID-19 permitting, we will be able to welcome cider friends in our new tasting room. I would love to have a vertical tasting for the inauguration! Otherwise, I will be content to celebrate the defense of my thissis there. I am curious to see what will happen afterwards, as it will be the first year in which I will not jump between lectures, cidery and orchard; I will stay with the apples through the season.

Chris Payton, Head Cider Maker
Schilling Hard Cider (Portland, Ore.)

We are looking forward to a better apple harvest. 2021 was a tough year in the Pacific Northwest, with everyone from growers to processors reeling from the effects of a poor global harvest. Hopefully, 2022 will bring some ideal weather and better yields.

We are also excited to see growth with imperial cider. With the United States allowing cider over 7% in 12-ounce cans, imperial ciders are popping up everywhere and we expect to see more of them. This opens up the door for ingenuity and for cider makers to take the category in a bunch of new directions. The cider world is full of creative people, so it will be awesome to see what folks come up with.

We’re really pumped for our new Excelsior Red Glo, releasing in the spring. An heirloom imperial cider made with single varietal, pink-fleshed apples called Lucy Glo. The whole imperial category is about to get a glow up!



Lee Reeve is the owner-operator of inCiderJapan GK (www.inciderjapan.com), an importer/distributor, retailer, and producer of cider and cider-related goods. He is also the publisher of inCiderJapan, Asia’s first and only bilingual magazine dedicated to all things cider.

Lee Reeve can be reached at [email protected]

Categories
Cider

InCider Insights with Lee Reeve, Volume 5

With every new year comes new ideas, new resolutions and new goals. For cider makers, I’m sure that also includes new ciders to produce, and perhaps newer varieties of apples to try. Every month at InCider Insights, I ask one question to three creatives so we can all compare the similarities and differences between two artists of the same craft. This month’s question talks about the possibilities that come with each new year.

Trevor Zibulon, co-founder and maker of cider
Goat Rock Cider Company (Petaluma, California.)

Making cider in Sonoma County meant using candy apples (local Grafnstein), so I never understood what the “cider” apple discussions were about or why it mattered. Gravensteins can make great cider, full of spice and floral notes, so I kind of dismissed the whole idea of ​​apple variety being relatively stale.

This idea was pressed last month when I received a call from two different heritage gardeners in Mendocino asking if I wanted to use their fruits. When the juice was pressed from an Oz farm I was frankly shocked, I think there was a hole in the floor in the cemetery where my jaw dropped after tasting the juice from a mix of 40 apples special for cider. It immediately turned out that there was nothing to argue about; Spices, earthy tannins, acids and oh Delicious flavors! This co-op cider is almost over and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever had the privilege of tasting, let alone making.

I also brew a tank of Wickson Crabs from Biodynamic Certified Filigreen Farms which is nothing short of cosmic. I look forward to working closely with both orchards in the future and sharing real cider with the community!

Mica Wallenius, cider maker
Shewa Cedri (Iwate Prefecture, Japan)

Making cider in Japan means working primarily with table apples. I was really happy with the quality of the fruit we used, but there is not much difference between the cultivars and the fruit. Every once in a while, something does stand out.

When the cliff was still just an idea on paper, I found a small deep red apple at a local farmer’s market. her name was Arupusu Otome, or “Alps Maiden”. Next to the larger table apples, the Alpine Maiden immediately caught my attention. I knew it was an apple I wanted to make cider with.

So far, I have not yet worked with Alps Maiden. It is produced on a very small scale in Iwate Prefecture, and our standard suppliers simply do not grow it.

As a little mould, each season brings new and fun opportunities. I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself with a tank of Alps Maiden brewing in a rough season soon.

Liv Stevens, Cedar Maker and Founder
Noble Cedar (Asheville, North Carolina)

Dabenet. Until recently, there was a long list of apples that I didn’t have access to but wanted to make cider with. Fortunately, four years ago we partnered with Lewis Creek Farms to grow our very own cider orchard. The orchard contains a wide variety of American Heirloom, French and English apple varieties.

Unfortunately, this season, due to the late freezing, local orchards lost 85% of the apple harvest. The one apple we grow but can’t harvest is Dabinett. This, along with Kingston Black, is one of the most popular British ciders. It is a bittersweet apple that has a good proportion of sugar and tannin.

Next season we hope to have a good harvest of Dabinet and English cider apples. If so, we will be releasing a British mix as part of the new Orchard Reserve series. This year we launched cider made with American and French apples from The New Orchard.

Lee Reeve is the owner and operator of inCiderJapan GK (www.inciderjapan.com), an importer/distributor, retailer, and producer of cider and cider commodities. He is also the publisher of inCiderJapan, Asia’s first and only bilingual magazine dedicated to all kinds of cider.

Lee Reeve can be reached at [email protected]