The Hudson Valley is exploding with cideries, wineries, distilleries and breweries. In this podcast I visit with Devin Britton and Albert Wilklow, two guys in their early 30’s who are turning a hobby into a full time business with Bad Seed Hard Cider.
Albert grew up in the local Hudson Valley apple farming industry. In fact, I use to go apple picking with my kids at his family orchard in Highland, NY “Wilklow Orchards” and to this day still receive the newsletter his mom sends out. That is where I got my first introduction to fresh cider donunts! The best!
What many people might not realize is the Hudson Valley is a large apple growing region. (If interested, this whitepaper will give you more on the history of apple farming in the Hudson Valley http://bit.ly/1te5IOl)
Albert and Devin are childhood friends. They’ve been experimenting with hard cider for many years. Devin is the brewer so to speak. In 2011 they decided to take their hobby into production. They received their license and began selling in the spring of 2012 at the Fort Greene Greenmarket in Brooklyn. Now along with the Fort Greene Farmers Market, you can find them at Grand Army Plaza Market on Saturday and Union Square Farmers Market on Wednesday and Saturday.
One year into their venture Manhattan Distributors reached out to them. That is a huge accomplishment as it is very difficult to get picked up by a distributor. You can find their ciders throughout New York City distributed through Manhattan Distributors.
The base of their cider comes from three apples, Winesap, Ida Red and Empire. They will then mix in some Northern Spy, Braeburn, Pink Lady as well as some others.
The apples that go into their cider can’t be to high in sugar and have to have good tannin content. If the sugar is to high, when fermented, you will loose all the flavor.
There are between 12 and 14 varieties that go into Bad Seed Hard Cider. All blended when bottled. For every 75 gallons of Bad Seed Cider, there are 800 pounds of apples in it. Cider takes approximately 5 months from press to bottle to consumer.
Bad Seed Cider produces three signature ciders, their Dry Cider, Belgian Abby Cider and their Bourbon Barrel Reserve Cider.
The Dry Cider is dry and nicely balanced.
The Belgian Abby Cider uses a Belgian beer yeast. It’s a cider for people who like Belgian Sours. It’s tart and tangy with sour tart apple tones.
Their Bourbon Barrel Cider is aged in Bourbon barrels for 8 weeks. This cider is not carbonated. By aging the cider in the barrels it balances out the acidity, gives it a full mouth feel and keeps more of the cider flavor. They say “It’s not your little sister’s cider!”
Asked what is driving the cider explosion, they say it’s the generation coming forward today. Their parents generation is brand loyal. Their generation is NOT. Their generation wants to explore and try new things. They don’t go to the store to buy the same thing twice. There is no brand loyalty!
People want to try something new and cider is the NEW and people are excited about it. They will always have their three core ciders and begin to produce seasonal ciders so people can keep trying new.
When Devin and Albert began in 2012 they began with 2,000 gallons of cider. Today they are producing 20,000 gallons. Asked about their future projection, they want to grow but keep it craft. When they can’t keep the standards that they want, that is where they will cap it.
Bad Seed Hard Cider is located at 43 Baileys Gap Road, Highland, New York. The Tap Room is open Saturday from 12-8pm and Sunday 12-7pm. You can find them on the web at http://www.badseedhardcider.com/