Liquid Gold in the Hudson Valley and Catskills

  |  October 30, 2014
docs draft cider warwick

Doc’s Draft Apple Cider from the Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery

When it comes to growing apples, New York is only second to Washington state in production. That means cider is a big deal around here. And we’re not talking grocery store brands. We’re talking small batch artisan craft cider that smacks of the state’s rich history with producing beverages. Cider, beer, wine; there’s no shortage of it in upstate New York, and as the growing season comes to a close, we can help but turn our thoughts toward the fruits (and drinks) of the harvest. We’re not the only ones, it seems. The NYT took a cider sipping spree around several upstate cider producers, including Orchard Hill Cider Mill, Steampunk Cidery, Doc’s Draft Hard Apple Cider, and Naked Flock Ciders. Meanwhile, the “sweet revolution” rolls on as cider producers continue to turn the Hudson Valley back into the cider mecca it once was. Seems to be happening, since state-wide cider production is up from 1000 gallons 12 years ago to 200,000 gallons in 2014, as recently reported here.

Speaking of essential raw ingredients for tasty beverages, beer hops cultivated in New York will fetch $18/lbs, while Washington hops bring in $13/lbs, meaning it has the potential to become very big business, indeed. Bloomberg Businessweek profiled Alicia and Louis Hager and their Cooperstown (Otsego County) farm, Hager Hops. Great-great grandchildren of Anheuser-Busch founder Adolphus Busch, the Hagers have plans to grow their acreage in order to produce a Belgian ale at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, the first name in Belgian craft beers this side of, well, Belgium.

Could craft beverage production be the future of Hudson Valley and Catskills prosperity? Seems in some parts, the future is now.


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