Anyone looking for a graphic depiction of the rise of artisan cider in the United States of late need look no further than the wonderful project of Dale Brown that he calls CyderMarket.com
The CyderMarket’s 2014 Producers Survey was released in May and delivers a great deal of information about America’s hard cider producers including where and how they operate.
But nothing in the new survey is more revealing than the section that looks at the number of cideries founded on an annual basis going back to 1981.
According to the CyderMarket.com survey, since 2008, in just the last 6.5 years, 221 cideries have been founded in the United States. This is in contract to the 86 cideries that were founded in the 26 years between 1981 and 2007. In the first four months of this year, 30 new cideries have opened in the United States. That number is likely to jump to somewhere around 50 by year’s end.
In looking at the sudden increase in cidery starts in the late 2000s, Dale Brown admits that he has “no clear indication why the dramatic increase in cider production starts in 2008 versus any earlier year.” No doubt this is a complicated subject that has a variety of explanations. However, it should be noted that during the decade of the 2000s, Americans showed a decided proclivity to branch out beyond their normal choices and began drinking a variety of flavored spirits and reacted enthusiastically to the rise of craft beer and its flavor variations. In other words, the same experimental nature that led to the rise of these two categories undoubtedly helped fuel an interest in hard cider and with it the rise in cideries followed.
I highly recommend cider enthusiasts peruse the CyderMarket.com website. Besides the 2014 Cider Producers Survey, it holds a variety of information concerning how and where to find unique artisan ciders across the country.