About BlackBird Cider Works
How We Started
BlackBird Cider Works founder & cider maker became interested in hard ciders after living in the beautiful Puget Sound area of Washington State and discovering the craft ciders of that region. Originally from Upstate New York, he returned to Rochester, NY in 2005 in order to fulfill his dream of establishing his own hard cidery.
After working for several years on building up an orchard to supply the cider apples, renovations on a New England style orchard barn began. In 2011, the renovations were completed and BlackBird Cider Works was established as a fully-licensed farm cidery. In just the few short years since then, our operation has grown to offer over a dozen hard cider varieties, including numerous international award winners. We pride ourselves on the quality of our products and are always working with one goal in mind: to make the best hard cider out there!
How We Make Our Hard Cider
BlackBird Cider Works uses apples specially selected from our own orchard. The apples are pressed and the juice (also called must) is then fermented. After fermentation, the must is racked off into either an oak barrel or stainless steel tank for aging. Once the aging process is completed, our hard cider is bottled and finally ready for consumption. Of course, there’s a little more to it, but we can’t give away all of our secrets…
History of Cider in the United States
Once the most popular alcoholic beverage in the United States (a favorite among early settlers and colonists), hard cider lost ground and was overshadowed by beer for more than a century. Today however, cider is enjoying a remarkable comeback.
Shortly after the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, orchards began to sprout up across the region. Apples were popular because the trees were a reliable source of fruit and the apples themselves were an excellent storage crop. One of the many valuable uses of the fruit was for cider making, and it was being consumed in large quantities. In the year 1767, the Massachusetts average was about 35 gallons of cider per person. Hard cider was widely popular, and not just among common citizens. John Adams, the second President of the United States, drank a tankard of Cider every morning.
But by the late 1800’s, the influx of German and Eastern European immigrants arriving in the United States changed the drinking culture drastically. They brought with them new foods and a preference for beer made from wheat and barley. Hard cider’s popularity began to wane and after a steady decline, the Prohibition Era marked a final end of its mass appeal in the United States… until recently.
A hard cider revival began in the early 1990’s, and since then its popularity has risen sharply. With the beverage culture’s growing interest in alcoholic cider, the US isn’t the only country jumping on the bandwagon; it’s growing quite popular in Britain, France and Spain as well. Hard cider is making an incredibly strong return, and BlackBird Cider Works is proud to be a part of the movement.