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Celebrating Vermont's growing cider industry

(WCAX)
Published: Sep. 28, 2019 at 7:57 PM EDT
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Vermonters are celebrating five years of the booming cider industry.

On Saturday, Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury hosted the 5th annual Cider Classic. Eight brewers set up to showcase their finest locally-grown products.

“It’s our annual fundraiser to raise money in order to build the organization, the association, and look toward building bigger and better orchards. Better relationships between the people who are making the cider as well as the people who are growing the fruit that we use,” said Mark Ray of the Vermont Cider Makers Association. “We use everything from apples— people are using blackberries to raspberries, you name it. It is can be grown in Vermont, we’ll try to make cider with it.”

The event gives cider producers the chance to serve some of its most popular items, as well as introduce some of their newest creations.

“Today, we brought out a new series. It’s basically the release for Vermont Grown,” said General Manager Dan Snyder. “The primary feature with that is using raw ingredients, fresh fruits from local farms and featuring it in the cider. There’s some infusions, a lot of cold fermenting that goes on in featuring those wonderful, natural tastes that Vermont has to offer.”

Thanks to a rainy spring, brewers say they had an abundance of fruit to choose from.

“It’s a fantastic apple year. Just driving up the roads here in Vermont and upstate New York, you can see there’s apples everywhere. They’re huge. And with that, it’s been a pretty good fruit year altogether for most people harvesting,” said Snyder.

Cider makers say the harvest season isn’t over yet so there’s plenty more fruit to be grown. The more fruit there is and the easier it is to access, the more cider can be made.

“Usually, you’ll have one year where there’s not a lot of apples, the trees don’t produce a lot. And then the next year, the trees are full of fruit,” said Mark Simakaski of Cold Hollow Cider. “I usually see it on a two-year, sometimes a three-year cycle, but the trees will produce a lot one year and then not a lot the next year or two. And this is one year where we’ll have a lot of fruit.”

The Vermont Cider Makers Association says the goal of Cider Classic is to highlight smaller, local producers, as well as bigger, regional brewers that are more well-known.

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