What Does Brix Mean?

We spent years dreaming up this business, but we struggled with a name.  For a while it was “Big Blue,” and then it was “Bending Branches” (apparently we like the letter “B.”)  We also thought about “Jones Hollow,” named for the valley where we live and all the Jones families who settled here in the 1800s.

Then one day the name “Brix” popped up, and we liked it.  It was short, simple, and fun.  Not only did it contain the letter “B,” but it also contained the elusive but super cool letter “X.”  

Another thing that’s nice about the word Brix is that it’s a scientific term, and yes, we believe in science!

To be precise, brix is the measure of the concentration of sucrose by percent mass in a liquid.  In other words, if we measure the brix of a particular apple juice, we’re measuring how much sugar is in the juice.    Yeast feed on sugars to make alcohol, so the higher the brix, the bigger the feast, and the more alcohol the yeast will produce.  A high brix juice makes a strong, boozy cider.  A low brix juice makes a thin, wimpy cider.  We look for apples with juice on the high end of the brix scale.

 Above: A refractometer and an apple slice.  Squeezing a couple drops of juice from the apple onto the refractometer, one can quickly measure brix and determine if the apple has potential to make a good cider.

Above: A refractometer and an apple slice.  Squeezing a couple drops of juice from the apple onto the refractometer, one can quickly measure brix and determine if the apple has potential to make a good cider.

The word brix actually came from the German mathematician Adolf Ferdinand Wenceslaus Brix (1798-1870).  He refined the methods for measuring sugars in liquids, and the term was named after him.  

Coincidentally, Brix is also a village in the Normandy region of France – a region that is known for its cider.  A visit to Brix is on our bucket list.

 Above:  Cider production in Brix, France.  Thanks to Harold King for sending us this photo.

Above:  Cider production in Brix, France.  Thanks to Harold King for sending us this photo.