‘In-cider's view: The apple of your taste buds

Amid growing fan base, three cideries take root in Bend

Brew News: Cider the apple of many eyes

BEND, Ore. - Watch out beer, there's a new trend that could take a bite out of business.

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away," said Far Afield Cider owner John Gessner.

And the experts say here in America, cider is anything but new.

"Historically, it was the drink this country was founded on," said Red Tank Cider spokesman Drew Wilson.

Gessner said it was the story of American cider and Johnny Appleseed that first got him hooked while vacationing back East.

"It's been around pretty much since the pilgrims got here," he said. "It's an old (trend) coming back."

Back in a way that would make the Pilgrims proud. The number of Oregon cideries has tripled in four years.

Northwest Cider Association Executive Director Sherrye Wyatt said there are about 30 craft cider-makers licensed in Oregon, and the number is growing.

"I think this is one of the greatest comeback stories in the history of American food," Wyatt said. "It's an overnight sensation 200 years in the making."

Wyatt said the demand likely comes from a perfect storm: consumers looking for something different and a trend pushing people toward glute-free diets.

"I just spoke with a cider-maker the other day who started in 2009 with about 240 gallons, and now they're making 76,000 gallons," Wyatt said.

It's a trend bubbling over right into the heart of Beer Town U.S.A. Bend's cideries have also tripled -- going from zero to three in just over a year. The trailblazer was Red Tank Cider, which opened its doors in May of last year.

"To be able to say this is craft cider and watch people's opinions change is pretty rewarding," Wilson said.

Shortly after, Atlas Cider Co. was born.

"There's always cider around, but not ciders that are made from local fruits," Atlas owner Dan McCoy said.

And Bend's newest cidery, Far Afield, is set to open in just weeks.

"My cider will be unfiltered, so it will leave all the nutrients, all the good stuff in there," Gessner said.

They are business owners who don't just see themselves as entrepreneurs, but pioneers. 

"I'm trying to make something  that is a little different than the other cideries in town," Gessner said. "I'm trying to make an aged cider."

McCoy said, "A lot of our ciders are blends that have never been done before, so that's another thing that excites people."

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