November 2, 2013
For those about to vote in Washington regarding Initiative 522 and the labeling of products that contain genetically modified foods, you should watch the last half hour of Botany of Desire. I wrote about this PBS documentary a year ago. I want to draw your attention to the potato and history of genetically modified foods in this case.
The film is neither for nor against genetically modifying plants, so it makes for an interesting watch. At the heart, it really criticizes how the public demands the same quality of food with every eating experience, and so farmers plant only one variety to meet that demand. Now this variety, after time, will begin to grow week, as we are not allowing it to evolve into a new variety, yet the pests and diseases are. The plants begin to have no resistance. For traditional farms to compensate, the film argues, we either have to spray or make genetic modifications. The film does offer a third solution, which does require a little bit more education on the consumer’s end.
Further reading: The Columbian, Local farmers come down on both sides of I-522. Oct 20, 2013
August 30, 2013
August saw signs of the growing US cider industry taking its next steps in challenging the archaic tax code laws they are subjected to.
- Grand Rapids Business Journal: People’s Cider Co. bites into Grand Rapids. July 26, 2013
- Mercury 24: Proposed expansion at Thatchers Cider farm [UK]. July 26, 2013
- Journal Sentinel: Apple of the drinker’s eye: Beer makers move into hard cider. July 27, 2013
- The Grocer: Cider prospects boosted by heatwave [in UK]. July 28, 2013
- Northwest Crossing: Is Cider the New Craft Beer? Atlas Cider Company. July 29, 2013
- Willamette Week: From the Vault: Cider Riot Founder Abram Goldman-Armstong on the Charms of Apples. July 29, 2013
- The Globe and Mail: Looking for an alternative to beer? Here’s why you should try hard cider. July 30, 2013.
- The Portland Mercury: Crafting the Future of Cider. July 31, 2013
- Hard Cider Newsletter: Cider Bars Trending. July 2013.
- Hard Cider Newsletter: Brancout Out Cider Releases First Cider. July 2013.
- Think Magazine: Hard Cider the other craft beer. August 1, 2013
- CBS This Morning: Hard cider cuts into traditional beer sales. August 3, 2013
- Fox47 News: 6th Annual Great Lakes & Perry Festival at Uncle John’s Cider Mill. August 5, 2013.
- *Agra-Net.com: US hard cider sales continue to boom. August 5, 2013
- The Grocer: Aspall cyder returns to India after 110 years. August 6, 2013
- *Bloomberg: Hard Cider Treated Like Beer Becomes Endeavor of Senators: Taxes. August 7, 2013
- The Columbus Dispatch: Beer Review: Griffin Cider Works Burley Man (hard cider). August 7, 2013
- The Olympian: Hard cider comes to the South Sound. August 7, 2013
- *Virtual-Strategy Magazine: Cider Makers Laud Blumenauer Collins Bill. August 7, 2013
- Boston.com: Boston Beer’s Angry Orchard cider is off to a strong start. August 13, 2013
- Fansided: Hard apple cider: Is it manly? August 13, 2013
- Hospitality Magazine: Cheers for cider as growth continues [in Australia]. August 13, 2013
- Brewbound: Seattle Cider Company to Lunch on August 24. August 14, 2013
- Penn Live: Ice cider among releases planned at Reid’s Orchard & Winery. August 15, 2013
- The Business Journal: MillerCoors launching higher-alcohol-content beer, cider. August 15, 2013
- Herald Business: Cider sales rule: Nova Scotia makers see surge in their market. August 16, 2013
- Tidewaterbiz: Recent grad plans cider business in Williamsburg area. August 19, 2013
- The Wall Street Journal: Thatchers and Other UK Cider Makers Look to Tap US Market. August 19, 2013
- Coloradoan.com: In beer-crazy Fort Collins, duo bets on cider. August 19, 2013
- Brewbound: Angry Orchard Releases New Cinnamon Cider. August 21, 2013.
- The Sag Harbor Express: Cider, Anyone? August 21, 2013
- *SkaneatelesJournal.com: Brewery coming to Skaneateles next year [and introduce Pigs Head Farm hard cider]. August 21, 2013
- BeverageDaily.com: ‘Drink up thy zyder!’ Carlsberg [European] hard cider brand Somersby grows 85%. August 22, 2013
- BattleCreekEnquirer.com: Michigan apple crop may be one of the largest ever seen. August 24, 2013 [My theory – after last year’s bad crow, the trees are now biennal]
- Brewbound: Woodchuck Cider Lunches New ‘Cellar Series’ Line. August 27, 2013.
- Hard Cider News: Cider Makers Announce Third Annual Washington Cider Week. August 2013
- Hard Cider News: Congressmen Introduce Cider Act. August 2013
- Hard Cider News: A Seasonal Change Brings in New Ciders. August 2013
- Hard Cider News: First-Ever Philadelphia Hard Cider Festival Debuts September 28th. August 2013
July 1, 2013
I finally got on the smart phone bandwagon. In June, we have been to four beer/cider events, so I started looking into apps for tasting notes. As I see it, I could either haul around my tasting book all the time, or just take it to events. But what if I was out and about and come across something I wanted in my note book but didn’t have it with me? That’s where an app would be so much better: I always have my notes with me because I have my phone with me, but I wasn’t having to carry around an extra book to achieve this same thing.
For starters, there is nothing out there for cider, which makes me a little sad. I tried to use something like Google Docs to make a form based on the wine judging I’ve done, Blogger Cider Pages, and Andrew Lea’s Class and First Tier of Cider Flavour Descriptors. The result was that I still ended up grabbing my notebook because it was faster and easier to write in. This is kind of a shame, because my notes are not as through as they should be, so this really would have put me through the paces.
Moving on to beer, I ended up finding an app called Beeer (yes, there are three E’s in that name). There is a Lite version or a $0.99 version, which I got the full $0.99 version. It is pretty basic in that it has you enter the name, company, style, star rating, ABV, IBU, OG, TG, method of storage (bottle, can, draft, growler, cask), a beer wheel, allows you to take a photo, and then enter notes. I really liked the beer wheel, though I actually think for beer that it might actually be stopping me from thinking of other characteristics that might not be on the wheel. Maybe, because I’m a little slow with the keyboard, I wasn’t really taking additional notes. However, it is beer, which is not my strong suit, so this wheel did have me thinking about floral or citrus, etc, things I know I should be thinking about, but don’t actually do. This is actually the only app this company makes, which is unfortunate. I would really like it if they had one for wine or for cheese.
Which brings me to cheese, as two of the events I went to this past month were cheese tastings. The app I found was called Cheese Tasting Tracker (free version limits you to 25 entries). It is pretty simple in that it allows you to enter a name, producer, location, date, type, age, region, rating, and notes. Because I am a slow cell phone typer, and because I was liking the Beeer app with its beer tasting wheel, I abandoned this app in favor of a small tasting book called 33 Pieces of Cheese (The website lets you see exactly how the tasting pages are). Again, the tasting wheel is helping me develop my palette and maybe even expand my vocabulary on cheese, but I think some day it will hold me back.
I think there is a lot of potential for tasting apps out there that have yet to be tapped into. Too bad I don’t know more about programming to develop them!
What about you? Have you found some cider, cheese, beer, or wine tasting apps you like?
April 26, 2013
Cider is still on the rise, but to quote James Wilmore at Just-Drinks, “A report in February suggested that cider still suffered from a lack of distrubution in the US and the need to invest in the category’s image.”
- Canada Newswire: Modern day Johnny Appleseeds? – Pommies Dry Ciders gives away apple trees this April. March 27, 2013
- Philly.com: Ciders of the Basque country and Asturias. April 1, 2013
- Harpers: Monopoly forces ice cider producers into Europe. April 2, 2013
- Brewbound: Craft Brew Alliance Launches Square Mile Cider Company. April 2, 2013
- *CBS 6 Albany: Move to boost cider sales in New York. April 2, 1013
- *MSN: Hard cider is filling more American’s beer glasses. April 5, 2013
- Capital Press: Cider apples right at home in Western Washington. April 8, 2013
- The Baltimore Sun: Mead and cider make a comeback in Maryland. April 10, 2013
- Digital Journal: Cider & Other Furit Wien Production in the UK Industry Market Research Report Now Updated by IBISWorld. April 12, 2013
- NPR: A Tax Day Story for Hard-Cider Lovers. April 15, 2013.
- The Daily Page: Cider House of Wisconsin makes Madison’s most local hard cider. April 15, 2013
- Coloradoan.com: New cider hosue, distiller join north Old Town in Fort Collins. April 16, 2013
- Richmond.com: Blue Bee Cider to Open Tasting Room. April 16, 2013
- Brewbound: Woodchuck Hard Cider Initiates Earth Week Campaign. April 17, 2013
- The Wall Street Journal: Nature-Inspired Fruit Trends Nourish Product Innovation. April 17, 2013
- *Food Republic: 12 Things You Didn’t Know About Hard Cider. April 18, 2013
- Rapid Growth Media: Peoples Cider is All Michigan. April 18, 2013.
- The Pitt News: Borrebach: Cider: a respectable alternative to beer. April 19, 2013
- *Just-Drinks: US: Cider volumes soar in US on-trade – figures. April 22, 1013
- NW Cider Association: Introducing Seattle’s own Schilling Cider. April 22, 2013
- Seven Days: Demand for Hard Cider Surges, and the Industry Organizes. April 24, 2013
Other Industry News:
NPR: Craft-Beer-Crazy Oregon Poised to Name Official State Microbe. April 5, 2013
March 4, 2013
I’ve been a member of a wine club for about two and a half years now. I went to about three quarters of the meeting a year, in which I enjoyed talking to fellow wine makers, getting feedback on my wine and cider, and eating some great food.
But it seemed like my wine club and I were never completely a great fit together. The obvious difference was that I am a young female, while most of them were retired males, and the wives didn’t make wine but instead told the men what they wanted to drink. I didn’t let that bother me, but the club was really formed so that they could band together and get large purchases of grapes for lower prices. As a result, the meetings all year long would be over what kind of grapes to get, the cost, the equipment, who was getting the grapes, etc. I was so bored.
The last wine club meeting I went to was in November, which ended up voting that each household start paying dues so the club could by equipment. While it was not my intention not to attend again as a way to get out of the dues, that seems to have happened. No, originally, I did not go back because of my health, and then I kind of dreaded hosting.
Meanwhile, Burtle took me to a meeting or two with his beer brewing club. While I’m not entirely thrilled with beer, I found it to be the same, yet different. For example, all of the brewers are male, and most of them older, maybe even retired. Burtle is young compared to them. Their wives sometimes attend, sometimes not, but if they do, it involves a bottle of wine instead of telling the husbands what to make. I’m kind of a novelty, as I’m not a brewer, but I totally understand the process and will ask a lot of questions of these guys. So, their meeting consists of them getting together, tasting each other’s homebrew. Sometimes they might talk about a style or yeast as an agenda, just like my wine group did, but the similarity stops there. There was no talk of buying things together as a club, like grains, hops, and a brewing system. These guys are just there to try the beer and get feedback.
And then it occurred to me after not attending for the third month in a row that despite missing the talking to wine makers, tasting wine, and eating food, I was really looking forward to my husband’s upcoming beer brewer’s meeting this month that I had only recently started attending. Or rather, I didn’t miss the drama of the business meetings my wine group had. Basically, I need a wine tasting club that is made up of wine makers who want feedback on their wines. I know there is a wine tasting society that meets once a month, but that costs $35 a meeting because I think the wine and food is pre-purchased every time. I want this to be… organic. I don’t mean chemical free, I mean a club that is natural and unforced.
I’m going to have to think about how to go about finding or setting up something like this.
February 22, 2013
February had a cider conference and Cider Summit in Chicago.
- Seattle Weekly Blogs: What’s Pouring in Olympia? Cider Growlers, Tax Extensions, and Beer at Jackass 6. January 28, 2013
- Food Mixology Lab: Could the Fall of Gluten Mean the Rise of Cider? January 30, 2013
- Eat Drink Explore: Paso Robels winery diversifies with artisan hard cider. February 1, 2013
- Seattle Weekly Blogs: Cider: Don’t Open Your Brewery Without It. February 1, 2013
- Law360: Ad Regulator Clears Anheauser-Busche’s Light Cider Claims. February 5, 2013
- Providence Journal: Introducing the First Elderflower Cider to Launch in the US: Angry Orchard Elderflower Hard Cider Now Available Nationwide. February 5, 2013
- Hearld Online.com: Research and Markets: Cider Market in West Europe to 2017: Market Guide. February 7, 2013
- Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider: Small-Scale Commercial Cidermaking with Low Capital Input. February 7, 2013
- Cueasa: Hard Cider Revival. February 8, 2013
- Food Republic: Chicago: A Report from the Cider Summit. February 12, 2013.
- ChicagoReader: Striking old at the Cider Summit. February 13, 2013
- The Full Pint: The Midwest’s Own Big Apple: A Review of Cider Summit Chicago. February 13, 2013
- *GlobeNewswire: Somersby was fastest-growing of the global top 10 cider brands in 2012. February 14, 2013
- The Mac Observer: Apple Customers Push Cider-Selling ‘Apple Shop’ to Change Name. February 15, 2013
- Chicagoist: Chicago Cider Summit Highlights Growing Industry. February 16, 2013
- *Traverse City Record-Eagle: Ag Forum: Hard cider industry growing. Feruary 16, 2013
- Old Time Cider: Transplanting a cider apple orchard at Finnriver Fram & Cidery. February 18, 2013
- *Redeye: Four steps to silence cider skeptics. February 18, 2013
- *KTVZ.com: Ore. lawmakers poring over grower bill. February 19, 2013
Other and Local:
- Beervana: Is Beer One Market? February 8, 2013
- The Columbian: Liquor superstore coming to Vancouver. February 12, 2013
- The Washington Post: Maker’s Mark reverses decision to cut amount of alcohol in whiskey, restores historic level. February 17, 2013
December 31, 2012
Each year, I keep slowing down a little and being less inspired to write on this blog, and yet each year, my readership climbs. I’m into my third year of blogging now. To date, I have posted 455 times counting this post, and I have gotten over 47,000 views, which is double what I had last year. I’m guessing that is about 70 views a day.
This year, I had a new busiest day on October 30, 2012, which wasn’t even a day I posted. They were mostly reading the homepage for that day, My Italian Apple Grinder, and Apple Ripeness Test. The previous one day record was set in 2011 regarding liquor sales laws here in in Washington.
The most read posts in 2012, not including the homepage, were:
- Pears in Alcohol
- Cold Crashing Explained
- My (pathetic) Apple Grinder that I retired after just a few grindings.
- New to the top 10list is Types of Cider Apples.
- My (wonderful) Italian Apple Grinder that I will probably cry over when it breaks down on me.
- Also new to the top 10 list is a blog on Apple Brandy.
- My Eco-Lawn
- Making Wine with Whey
- New to the list, but from 2011, is a blog on Whipped Cream with Alcohol.
- Air is the Enemy
- (a close 11th place) Building an Apple Press
Here are the all-time top 10 most viewed posts I have written (this does not include homepage hits and scrolling through my blog though multiple posts):
- Pears in Alcohol
- Cold Crashing Explained (up from #6 last year)
- My (pathetic) Apple Grinder (up from #8)
- My (wonderful) Italian Apple Grinder (up from #9)
- About the Candle Wine Project (down from #3)
- Making Wine with Whey (down one spot)
- Types of Cider Apples (new to the top 10 list)
- My Eco-Lawn (down one spot)
- Building an Apple Press (up one spot)
- Apple Brandy (new to the top 10 list)
Since Washington State now has liquor in grocery stores, my commentary on Initiatives 1100 & 1105 is no longer drawing readers. It went from #2 last year to #14 this year, and I don’t expect it to even be in the top 30 next year. Also, new people reading about JK Scrumpy has slowed from #4 last year to #11 this year. Maybe with the surge of cider drinkers, everyone has had it now and don’t need my review so much anymore.
This fall, I slowed down on writing, but I think it was a good break, as this Christmas, I have had a few things to inspire me to write about in 2013. My personal life has not quite where I need it to be to actually get a cidery off of the ground despite the market being red hot. What I need to do is brush off my business plan and see what investors I can find. Admittedly, I’m not doing fruit wines so much. I dabble in it when I have them, but I’ve really swung my focus to cider, enough to ponder a name change.
Further reading: 2011 in Review