Once upon a time...
....a glass of hard cider at a tavern was just as popular as grabbing a beer at a local pub. When settlers began emigrating from Britain to what we now know as New England, they brought with them the necessary components for a thriving hard cider industry—apple seeds and the palate for the tasty fermented drink. The orchards did well in the New England soil, and soon apples were a staple at the kitchen table.
Fermentation is a naturally-occurring process, requiring only yeast and sugar, both of which are present in nearly every raw food. Cider fermentation was a natural, albeit poorly understood process. The settlers were on to something though; fermented drinks were a safer bet than drinking water! Water quality was extremely variable and as a result, fermented drinks like hard cider and beer became the norm. By far, cider was much more popular in the early days. It is even noted that President John Adams drank a whole tankard of cider every morning with his breakfast.
While cider was ever-present during the Colonial era, more immigrants were coming from other European countries with other tastes. With the rise of German immigrants, German breweries became more and more present in the growing East Coast cities. However, it all went underground with the implementation of Prohibition. After the ban on alcohol was lifted, beer re-emerged, but the cider suffered greatly. Americans had lost their taste for strong alcoholic beverages, and the beer that came about was inexpensive, more bland in flavor, and much lower in alcohol content. With the financial burden and changing taste, American beer turned to consolidated mega-breweries that could provide a consistent and light drink that did not incorporate the reemergence of hard cider.
Today, though, cider is now picking up pace. It was not until about 25 years ago that hard cider even popped up on the radar, and even then interest was limited at first. It has since become a slowly growing industry. Cideries are especially popular in New England, but have growing popularity in the midwest where apple orchards have taken root.
WHY CHOOSE OUR CIDER?
At Champlain Orchards Cidery, we are committed to sharing the highest quality authentic craft hard cider with our customers. The first step has been to plant extensive orchards with true American, English, and French cider and heirloom apples. We have conducted extensive trials of our 100+ apples so our main ingredient can be cultivated, harvested, pressed, blended and fermented with the intention of making the consumer say “Wow! I have never tasted such clean and satisfying cider.” We are committed to not using concentrate, corn syrup/sugar, inferior/inexpensive ingredients and we will never use production shortcuts which would inevitably compromise drinking quality.
We believe consumers will continue to educate themselves and further appreciate the attention to detail we take in producing our award winning authentic craft cider.
Champlain Orchards’ mission is to grow a wide variety of delicious and ecologically grown tree fruit while respecting the land. We are committed to supporting our community through employment, access to ecologically grown fruit and high quality products.
Champlain Orchards’ vision is to build a legacy as the premier ecologically managed orchard in the Northeast United States by being led by multigenerational management and staff through careful long term planning. Our sights are set on being the model for providing wholesome fruit, ciders and other products, using sustainable growing practices and renewable energy.
We will continue to listen to our customers who we hope will challenge us and encourage us to continue to experiment and pursue ever better hard cider. We will continue to grow the most flavorful fruit possible while caring for our land, our staff and our community.