Have you had your apple for today? Do you know where your apple came from? Washington State grows tons of apples annually with a high export ratio. What makes our vineyards as productive as they are is what makes our orchards so fabulous: fertile soils, loads of sunshine and the ability to apply water as needed in desired quantities with minimal pest pressures due to our dry climate. What to do with all of those apples? Besides fresh pack and bottles of juice that you pick up at the grocery store Washington Apples go into many products – but there is a business in Spokane, One Tree Hard Cider, that uses local apples to make hard ciders; a nifty alternative to eating your daily apple?
Neal and Grant, both in the telecom sales industry, discovered a mutual enjoyment of hard ciders a while back. They decided to open a small production facility in January 2014 to make their own hard ciders, opening in June of last year with the full support of their families. They understood sales and marketing so they really pushed their products, landing accounts in restaurants and bars that fit the connoisseur profile they hoped to reach. Within two months they also landed a contract with a distributor that adjusted their small production vision to a larger volume with greater distribution. Halting all cider making, shopping for a larger space and investing in bigger equipment they realized they were both over committed. Once they reopened in August, they resigned from their ‘day’ jobs and focused on broadening their offerings and making enough cider to satisfy their distributor and the local accounts while still having some to taste and sell through their new space. Six months on and they are both still smiling, still like each other and are committed as ever to making One Tree Hard Cider go. Fun guys, we spoke more with Neal as he poured their wares for us.
- The test batch, tasted blind, was super cold when we first sipped it: Peach Cider (apple with peach) 6.8% ABV, will be refined and launched the end of June as their summer flavor.
- Cranberry Cider – tart berry with a nice finish, 6.5% ABV.
- Crisp Apple – truly crisp apple in a glass, dry and an unknown ABV as it is keg only and I didn’t remember to ask for it.
- Ginger Cider – an excellent and refreshing beverage; spicy, sweet and crisp with a citrus-acid undertone. (I am probably quite biased, ginger is one of my favorite spices!)
- Cinnamon Caramel Cider – is a cinnamon roll in a bottle, brown sugar and cinnamon dominate the cider.
- Semi-Sweet wasn’t being poured as it is the poorest seller and going away – likely sweeter than the Crisp Apple, but less so than the Ginger and Cinnamon Caramel.