Hey beer drinkers! Hey wine drinkers! We get it. We like drinking beer and wine too, because they are both amazing beverages. Unfortunately, you might think you’re not a cider drinker, because like millions around the country, you may have been duped into thinking that cider is an overly sweet and artificial tasting beverage. Don’t be fooled! Before you pass off cider, give us a chance. You may find that you’ve been missing out on yet another amazing beverage that can make you happy and enrich your life. Cider might even become your new favorite.
The first few ciders I had in life were bottles of Woodchuck that I drank in the 90s as a college student. Even then, they were too sweet for me, and I could barely get through one before getting an unpleasant feeling in my gut. The cider market is mostly flooded with junky, soda-like ciders made with apple juice concentrate, water, malic acid, potassium sorbate, and “natural” flavors. The big brands tell us that we’re supposed to be grateful that they carved out a niche for cider in the market, but in my opinion, these mass-produced bottles of empty calories have only succeeded in giving cider a bad name.
The first good cider I had came from an unlikely source. I was working as a farm hand, and one of my co-workers was a scraggly hippy named Ken. He regularly drank questionable botanical cocktails as he worked. Ken had recently bought a plot of land with some abandoned apple trees on it. He visited me one evening with a bottle of hard cider he had made from the apples on the old trees. I was skeptical. We’ve all tasted a bad home brew, and I was expecting the worst. Ken poured some of his cider into a wine glass for me. It was golden, brilliant, and sparkling, and it had a pleasant aroma of fresh apples. I took a sip. It was dry and crisp, like an easy drinking champagne with an underlying essence of apple.
“Holy crap Ken!” I remember saying, “This is awesome! I would totally buy this!”
That moment of surprise and delight is what we try to recreate for our customers. We’ve had many converts - people who thought they didn’t like cider, who try our beverages and like them. Here’s a quote from a recent review on the Google: “I didn't think I even liked cider but wanted to go out with friends. Turns out, I really like cider! Or maybe just Brix Cider. We ordered a couple flights to taste test and then settled in our favorites…”
Aside from tasting great, there are other reasons to try cider for a change. Cider has very deep roots in American history. Before Americans drank wine or beer, they drank cider. Johnny Appleseed wasn’t planting apples to be eaten. Those were drinking apples. Early colonists and homesteaders planted cider orchards on small farms around the country, and every town had a cider mill. The apple tree was an early immigrant to this country, and cider helps us reconnect with our roots as a nation of immigrants.
Trying cider for a change can also change your relationship with agriculture, land, and community. Our cider is made with 100% local apples, all sourced in Wisconsin within 50 miles of Mount Horeb. We know all the farms and farmers because we work directly with them – no middle men, no catalogues of ingredients, no shipping in juice from other states. Our cider has a sense of place, and we’re proud to showcase the flavors of the land in Southwest Wisconsin. Our roots in Wisconsin soil are literally roots in Wisconsin soil. As much as we like beer and wine, their roots tend to be dispersed and distant, with ingredients shipped in from out of state and around the world, doing little for local agricultural economies.
“Cider for a change” is therefore more than just a welcomed new option for your palate; it’s also a change in mindset and values with the goal of revitalizing our rural landscape and community. Come on by and celebrate the flavors of the Driftless. Come on by and drink some cider for a change.