Cider Week New York comes but twice a year, and the Spring celebration is fast approaching. The party kicks off May 5, with cideries and restaurants across the state pouring, tasting and enjoying cider. The festivities will continue through May 14.
There’s a lot to celebrate: not only has the Hudson Valley become one of the most sought after regions for hard cider in the country, it is, arguably, where the country’s cider industry was born, and where it flourished thanks to the pioneering work of people like Robert Livingston Pell, who created one of the nation’s first commercial premium orchards in Esopus in the early 19th century.
“Distinctive products like hard cider evoke a local food culture and sense of place that is closely tied to agriculture in addition to garnering more profit for apple farmers,” says Scott Ramsey, executive director of the New York Cider Association.
New York’s inaugural Cider Week was launched in 2010 by a handful of local cider producers and the Hudson Valley’s Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming, and since then, the celebration has expanded and grown by leaps and bounds, right alongside the industry itself. There are now more than 125 licensed cidermakers in New York State, up from just a handful a few decades ago. It has grown an incredible 2,400% in 10 years, Ramsey notes.
“Initially, the goal of Cider Week was to help foster the Hudson Valley’s nascent cider business, connecting consumers and producers, and demonstrating the way the cider industry can provide social, economic, and environmental benefits to the community at large,” he explains.
Indeed, the cider industry contributes $1.7 billion annually to New York’s economy.
After more than a decade of successful growth, the New York Cider Association has made the two annual events a statewide celebration showcasing the cider industry’s diversity and quality. The Hudson Valley, as the O.G. of the state’s modern cider movement, is, of course, the place to be.
It would be tough to find a stauncher supporter of the Hudson Valley’s cider industry than the New York Cider Association—unless you’ve met Paige Flori, whose Boutique Wines, Spirits and Cider shop in Fishkill has grown and flourished in tandem with the cider business here.
“When we launched in 2017, we opened with nine ciders on tap and 35 in bottles and cans,” Flori says. “We now have 325 in bottle and can, and 13 on tap.”
New York accounts for 125+ of those bottles and cans, and 5-8 of the taps at all times, many of which are from the Hudson Valley.
“The Hudson Valley’s cider producers are pushing the envelope by playing with cider flavors,” Flori says. “Some great examples are co-ferments with wine/grapes (Treasury Cider Duet and Rose Hill Farm Ponquette Rouge). Forthright and Treasury feature ciders which are a cross between a cider and a mead. There are also some incredible single varietal expressions. Most ciders are blends of apples, but we are experiencing well-done examples of single varietals in the Hudson Valley. Some of the best examples include Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider, Original Sin, Pennings Farm Cidery, who came out with a whole varietal series, and Abandoned Cider Gold Rush.”
No other state in the country makes more cider than New York—and call us biased, but no one makes it better. Whether you’re a confirmed cider lover, or just cider-curious, this is the week to expand your appreciation for and understanding of this delicious industry.
CAN’T MISS EVENTS
Boutique Wines, Spirits & Cider:
If you want to pre-game Cider Week, Boutique Wines, Spirits and Ciders has you covered. On April 29 from 1-5 pm, Boutique will feature their biannual Hard Core Grand Tasting Event.
“We will have over 50 products to sample, including local brands like Nine Pin, Brooklyn Cider House, Abandoned, Lindner’s, King’s Highway, Ace, Treasury, Pennings Farm, Seminary, along with international favorites,” Flori says. “Our 13-tap system will be running for sampling and growler fills.”
Friday, May 5, 5-8pm: Cider Cocktail Workshop with Orchard Hill—Cider makes an incredible base for cocktails. Dubious? Come by and learn how to make a few innovative concoctions for the summer season. Free entry.
Thursday, May 11, 6:30pm: Cider and Food Pairing with Treasury Cider—A sampling of some of Treasury Cider’s products paired with bites made by Culinary Institute of America student and sommelier Joshua Fabina, who also works at Boutique. Free entry.
Friday, May 12, 4-7pm: Rose Hill Farm tasting—Taste through the line of this northern Dutchess Cidery at the shop. Free entry.
Friday, May 12, 5-7 pm: First open mic night of the season! Come listen, laugh and sip. Free.
Saturday, May 13, 11 am-12 pm: Do yoga, stretch … and then sip. $40. Buy tickets here.
Saturday, May 13, 12-5 pm: It’s porch drinking season, and this is the first weekend you can officially do it at the Treasury Cider Porch. Free.
Pennings Farm Cidery:
All week: At the Cidery, the team will be officially releasing the new session ciders: dry and sweet. This duo of low-ABV ciders (they clock in at around 4.5%) is high in flavor and character.
More Cider Week events will hit the calendar soon. Keep up to date here.