The booming cider scene
By Dan Nailen
The Northwest has seen this story unfold before.
A bunch of casual sippers and more zealous connoisseurs grow dissatisfied with the mass-produced products sold by far-away, massive corporations. In response, they retreat to their basements and garages and start playing with recipes, learning about fermentation and putting their own spin on the old tried-and-true.
Eventually, some hit on flavors in their homemade libation that are so tasty and unique, it seems a shame to hoard it all for themselves. They start putting some in bottles and growlers to share with like-minded friends and family. When they get a favorable response, a select few decide, “Hey, people like my stuff. Maybe this could be a business!”
In the ’80s and ’90s, those people were the pioneers of the craft beer movement, and we’re still enjoying the benefits of the brew boom through the ever-expanding series of microbreweries throughout Eastern Washington and North Idaho.
Fast-forward to 2015 and that same story is playing out again. This time, though, it’s an explosion of craft cideries, a natural evolution for a state that produces so many apples. It’s also a return to the drinking habits of Colonial America.