Cider Corner: Overcoming Missteps At The Start

Call them, ‘Happy Accidents.’ A misstep can lead to a change in your cider’s production schedule, marketing or sales strategy.

The first cider Ash And Elm Cider made when they opened was supposed to be the cidery’s flagship tart cherry cider.

Andrea Homoya said something went wrong.

“[It was] a mix of us not knowing exactly what we were doing and not being able to control the temperature in our new space quite yet,” she admitted. “It turned out really terrible. We almost dumped the whole 10 barrels.”

Instead, they decided to tweak it, add some additional sugar and acid, infuse some strongly flavored elements, like grapefruit juice and ginger, and Homoya said , ‘it turned out at least palatable.’

“None of us thought it was good, but we went ahead and tapped it for our grand opening, along with other better ciders,” she said.

Of course, it became the Indianapolis cidery’s bestseller and is now a staple.

“Except we make it clean the whole way through now and it’s much better than it used to be,” Homoya said.

Santa Cruz Cider‘s Natalie Henze said the California cidery has made some ciders that maybe we’re not exactly what they were looking for but they were able to change the name and marketed it as something else.

“We had a barrel that had gone funky on us so we marketed that particular batch as a ‘Sidra-style cider,’ ” she explained. “It went over well actually. Mostly happy accidents here.”

While wild fermentations can be fun and tasty, they require a good amount of head space for foam and CO2.

“Well one batch we just didn’t have the space and [we] happened to be out of town,” explained Jeffrey Cheskin of Liquid Alchemy Beverages. “We got a message from the cidery that basically the top had blown off and raw cider was everywhere. Especially on walls up 5-10 feet. That was not fun.

“To make the best of it, we took the end product — which was pretty sour — and put it in a whiskey barrel to age for six months. Messy but awesome.”

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