The apple is believed to be originally from what is present day Kazakhstan. The Romans are thought responsible for bringing the apple to Britain and it spread on both sides of the English Channel where they still make wonderful ciders today. Be it “Sidra” in Spain or “Sagardoa” in the Basque region, Cider in Britain and France or “Hard Cider” in the U.S.A., fermented apple juice is popular the world over.
In the U.S.A. when people think of apples they think of Johnny Appleseed. They don’t necessarily think of hard cider but that’s why he was seeding the countryside; to insure there were adequate apples for cider. The U.S. is the only English speaking country that doesn’t recognize the term “cider” as being alcoholic. The temperance movement promoted fresh pressed apple juice as “cider” to steer people away from “that demon drink”.
In Britain and France they maintain the cultivation of “cider” apples. These apples have wonderful flavor, tannin and character. They’re not eating apples and are difficult to find in the United States. A small movement is arising to bring back the cultivation of cider apples and make more traditional style ciders. These “Bittersweet”, “Bittersharp”, “Sharps”, “Bitters” and “Sweet” apples are starting to make a comeback.
The Colorado Apple Industry has shrunk in the last 20 years due to global competition and the ever shrinking variety of apples demanded by the table fruit buying public. As with many things the future for Colorado Apple Growers might reside with the cultivation of heirloom varieties and niche market local produce. The Colorado Cider Company is dedicated to reviving these apples in Colorado and developing its cider to take advantage of all the wonderful flavors out there in the apple universe.