Though hard ciders are only recently bubbling up in popularity, the craft of cider making is centuries old and was once the drink of choice for English settlers. Early American cider was fermented using the crabapples the colonists found. As fruit tree nurseries began to be cultivated all over the Northeast—an effort lead by John Chapman (more famously known as Johnny Appleseed) —new apples varieties were used in hard ciders and both production and consumption increased. It’s thought that cider’s popularity began to wane at the turn of the 19th century with the arrival of German immigrants who brought with them their love for brewing and drinking beer.
Recently, brewers and wine makers are rekindling affection for America’s oldest libation. Consumers are quickly being captivated by the craft and product too.
Pennsylvania has a growing community of grower-producers and producers committed to cider making and who are pushing the boundaries of the craft to introduce enthusiasts to an array of different cider styles.
To learn more about Pennsylvania’s hard cider industry and its producers, visit the PA Cider Guild.
If you are looking for information regarding hard cider production or licensing, please reference the Hard Cider Guidebook, developed in cooperation with Penn State Extension and the PA Apple Marketing Program.