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Sippin' on Cider in Upstate NY

Posted on Wednesday Sep 19, 2018 at 03:47PM in General

Apple orchard and hard cider

An apple a day will keep the doctor away, but what about hard apple cider? I tend to think that that’s not what Doc meant. But that’s not stopping us New Yorkers, is it?

They don’t call New York the "Big Apple" for nothing. New York is the second-largest apple producing state in the country (we see you Washington). It averages 29.5 million bushels of production annually. High production equals high consumption, especially during that crisp, fall season. Everyone is stocking up on apple cider donuts and pumpkin spiced coffee. Couples are taking cutesy photos while apple picking and we’re cozying up at the local brewery with friends, clutching our delicious hard cider.

Hard Cider has been trending in Upstate NY for a few years. Let’s find out why!

NY Apple History

New York prides itself on producing a wide variety of apples- and a whole lot of ‘em! This state has a rich apple history that has stood the test of time. NY apples are grown on about 41,000 acres! (Yes, there’s a branch near you!)

The six major production districts around the entire state are:

-Champlain Valley

-Eastern Hudson Valley

-Western Hudson Valley


-Lake Country

-Niagara Frontier

The Top 10 apple-growing counties are:











There are approximately 694 commercial apple growers in New York State which means this is a profitable business. In fact, this industry provides employment for many New Yorkers- both directly and indirectly. Not bad for a fruit.

Look- we might come in second for apple production, but we come in first for commercial varieties of fresh-market apples over any other region in the country! Go New York! Learn more fun facts about this rich history at New York Apple Country.

Don’t Call it a Comeback

Did you know that hard cider was the drink of the moment during colonial times?

Hard cider has kept a low profile until recently. But it’s ready to reclaim the throne. The number of hard cider producers has grown by 480 percent since 2011 (from 5-29). According to the Cider Guide website, there are 76 NYS cideries- with many more still in the works. This expansion makes apple orchard owners, breweries, and citizens of NYS very happy.

Versatility is a key reason this industry continues to grow. Ciders range from sweet or dry to smokey and fruity, with hints of apple in every batch. Another sign of its versatility: it is the only beverage that can be sold in grocery stores or liquor stores in NY.

Rise of Breweries & Wineries

A big reason cider has become such a popular alcoholic beverage is a direct result of the rise in breweries and wineries across NYS.

Brewery & Winery facts:

-The New York grape, juice, and wine industry generates more than 4.5 billion in economic benefits annually for NYS.

-The number of breweries went from 95 to over 400

-Breweries can be found in 57 of New York’s 62 counties

-NYS comes in 4thfor the most wineries in the U.S

New consumers want to try rare and uncommon drinks. Rather than entertain chain restaurants, this customer is supporting local businesses. The latest buyer is searching for an experience, not just a drink. Breweries and wineries offer unique opportunities to learn about the beverages they are drinking and the processes that go into making them. Fortunately, hard cider is food-friendly and pairs well with most of the delectable bites presented at these businesses. Tapping into the interests of the current consumer means showcasing a different culture of beer and wine.

An Apple a Day

Wow! Who really knew how popular the apple industry is in NY. The obsession with breweries and wineries led to the discovery of hard cider- which became a booming business in its own right. How do you like them apples?

Enjoy this time of year at your favorite breweries and wineries. Apple pick at one of the many orchards near you, eat as many donuts as you wish, and indulge in a delicious hard cider at your favorite spot.

Oh, and since we have you here: go learn about our craft.We make sure your favorite brewery/winery is running smoothly so you can enjoy all of the cider your heart desires.

P.S. Be sure to ask your doctor if hard cider counts as an apple a day- we'd really like to know!

Katie Bruno - Hill & Markes Marketing Assistant and Social Media Specialist

Katie Bruno is originally from Peru, but recently moved to Amsterdam, NY after graduating college with a Communication degree from UAlbany. Oh, not that Peru, a small town in upstate NY. Fueled by coffee, she passionately blogs about all things wholesale and uses her addiction to social media for the greater good of the company.

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