Resources For Cidermakers
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Home brewing/cider-making/mead-making/wine-making supplies:
More Beer–a one-stop shop for home production of beer, wine, mead, and more; also, has free shipping over $59 in most situations. If you’re starting from scratch, a beer kit plus a few extras will get you started on cider or mead. Look for posts from me on this, or use the contact form on the About page to ask me questions.
More Wine–same folks as More Beer, but this is their wine-centric page, which is a bit quicker to navigate if you’re looking for wine…stuff. Then again, there’s a search box on either page, so…yeah. But, you know, choice is good.
Midwest Supplies–home brewing and wine-making supplies, equipment, and books. They offer some fairly advanced wine-making equipment such as pH and SO2 meters that are useful in cider-making.
Northern Brewer–a great source for home brewing and wine-making kits, ingredients, and information. They also founded BrewingTV, which has some great brewing tutorials and product demonstrations…there are even some cider and mead videos there if you dig a bit.
Presses and Grinders:
Happy Valley Cider Presses–purveyor of big, traditional cider presses and grinders. Big, heavy, not cheap, but authentic and effective. I use one of these for my home cidermaking and it’s a lot of fun to use on a hobby scale.
Oesco, Inc–electric apple grinders and other orchard-related equipment.
Unfortunately, this can be a tough area these days–bee population die off from Colony Collapse Disorder is rampant, and supplies of quality, locally-produced honey are hard to come by. As I find good, ethical suppliers (i.e., those who don’t cut their honey with corn syrup like many of the imported-from-China honeys are), I’ll be sure to include them here.
Northern Brewer–decent, single-varietal and other honeys, in sizes up to 12lbs. I’ve had good results with their Orange Blossom honey.
Beeyond The Hive / Colorado Honey Company–retail and bulk honey. My favorite, local Colorado supplier–Jeff at Colorado Honey Company is very knowledgeable and has found me some outstanding Colorado clover honey.
Cummins Nursery–cider apple trees are hard to find; Cummins has the best selection I’ve seen anywhere and some of the best pricing to boot. Don’t let the rudimentary website scare you–these guys know what they’re doing. Order in fall for Spring delivery…don’t wait until Winter like I did or you’ll find they’ve sold out of a lot of the special varieties.
Treco–one of the largest producers of apple rootstocks in the country–grows something like 50% of all U.S. apple rootstocks. Great selection of rootstock varieties at low prices–make sure you order early (e.g., in the fall) for Spring delivery of rootstocks, as they tend to sell out. Also, they sell in bundles of 100, so go in with a friend (or 10) on an order. Smaller quantities of rootstock may be available at other nurseries, many of whom buy theirs from Treco.
Raintree Nursery–good source for small quantities of rare varieties as well as small quantities of rootstocks. Expensive, so I don’t recommended them for large quantities.
Fungi Perfecti–how can you not want to check out a place with a name like this? In terms of orcharding, the connection is vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizas (VAM) gel, an inoculation of helpful fungi spores which form symbiotic relationships with the roots that help roots grow and expand their water uptake capabilities through their interconnection with this fascinating, fun guy…har, har.
A.M. Leonard–horticultural supplier; carries a full line of nursery equipment and supplies.
Penn State Orchard Guide–a free, extensive tree fruit production guide by Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
USDA Organic Producer’s Guide–essential, though not comprehensive, information you need to know if you are going to pursue organic certification for your orchard.
Propagation Of Plants By Grafting And Budding–aka, Pacific Northwest Extension publication PNW496…because that’s so much easier to remember. Great overview of grafting techniques applicable to apple and pear propagation. Some very interesting examples of bridge and approach grafting as well…for example, who wouldn’t want to graft a potato and tomato together so that the resulting plant produced both fruit and tubers?
Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project — A non-profit organization support preservation and restoration of apple orchards in Montezuma County, Colorado, along with the discovery, preservation, and propagation of local heirloom apple varieties and more. In 2016, they raised funds to bring a mobile juice to the region and process juice from hundred-year-old orchards for purchase by Colorado cidermakers. An innovative group of folks helping to restore an almost-lost but important agricultural tradition and one close to cidermakers’ hearts — the apple-growing tradition.
Widespread Malus — An apple-centric project in Boulder County, Colorado with diverse goals including education, planting heritage varieties in Boulder County, preserving the genetic diversity of the apple, and supporting pollinators. One recent project involved obtaining bud wood from Cornell’s collection of Malus sieversii (the original, wild apple from Central Asia) and distributing it to growers on the front range of Colorado.
More Coffee. Do you brew/make mead, cider, or wine during the day? In the morning? You do? Without coffee? How? Fuel your production day with coffee. For hard core mode, roast your own coffee, brew and press it, while simultaneously making your craft beverage of choice. Then, tell me all about it and I’ll share your awesomeness (or embarrassing failure–hey, we all have one or two) on the blog.
U.S. Cider Association–the new cider producer organization. Evidence that the industry is beginning to mature in the U.S. Exciting times!
Rocky Mountain Cider Association–the Rocky Mountain Region’s Cider Association.
Northwest Cider Association–The Pacific Northwest’s Cider Association.
Informational Web Sites:
The Real Cider and Perry Page–lots of information about cider and perry. UK-based and has some great history around apple growing and use in the UK. The site design might make you cry a little inside, but don’t let that stop you–there’s CONTENT to be had here!
Orange Pippin–comprehensive information on numerous apple varieties.
Meadmakr–a new site focused on meadmaking and all things mead. They’re starting up a podcast as well (first mead podcast that I’m aware of)!
Winemaker’s Academy–winemaking instruction, recipes, podcasts, and more. Includes many discussions of topics that overlap with cider and mead (e.g., the use of sulfites and potassium sorbate).
Cidersage–the sister site of Cider School–musings about hard cider, mead, events, and miscellany.
Along Came A Cider–prolific cider reviewer; great, detailed reviews.
Cider Guide–blog, reviews, books, events, and other things hard cider and perry.
Great Lakes International Cider And Perry Competition (GLINTCAP)– the biggest (only?) annual U.S. competition for cider and perry only, held by the Great Lakes Cider and Perry Association, which has some connections with BJCP, though it’s a separate organization.
Cider Summit Chicago–summit for cider makers and enthusiasts alike. Cider tastings and networking abound here. Looks like the Cider Summit organization that runs the Chicago summit also puts on Cider Summit Portland and Cider Summit Seattle.
Lakewood Cider Days–Oct 5th/6th, Lakewood, Colorado. Apparently, CO has a cider festival. I must admit that I only just learned about this, but it looks interesting and I’ll try to make it there and report back to you.
Colorado Hard Cider Festival–two years running, in Paonia, CO in early November. Showcases Colorado cideries.
Great American Beer Festival–the quintessential, giant zoo of an event (something like 50,000 attendees in Denver over three days in October (10th, 11th, and 12th in 2013). Has crossover style categories (e.g., specialty honey beer, which I think is what braggot falls under) related to cider and mead that we’ll touch on here on cidersage. BJCP’s style guidelines include cider and mead these days, but I still don’t see them represented on the GABF list. Boo!
Orpheus Cup Mead Fest (CO)–a BJCP-sanctioned mead competition, with meaderies in attendance from the Colorado area. A very fun event in a nice venue–if you’ll be in the Denver area in October, look into it. My 2014 Black Currant Mead, ‘Berry and Blaze’, took 3rd in the melomel competition here in 2014.
Mazer Cup–the biggest mead-only, BJCP-sanctioned mead competition in the U.S, held in March in Colorado.