~ A unique player in the beverage world, we explored hard cider from Wyoming this week. ~
As I prepped for an overnight camping trip in Wyoming with friends this week, I snagged a four pack of Colorado local Glider Cider (a great, balanced option) and contemplated the history of hard cider in America. It's a great story - even better when told while sipping a cider by the campfire.
Hard Cider has enormous popularity in Colonial America, more so than beer, whiskey or any other alcoholic beverage at the time. "'Up until Prohibition, an apple grown in America was far less likely to be eaten than to wind up in a barrel of cider,' writes Michael Pollan in The Botany of Desire. 'In rural areas cider took the place of not only wine and beer but of coffee and tea, juice and even water.'" Smithsonian Magazine has the scoop on Johnny Appleseed's famous contribution, but the short version is that it produced fruit much different from the apples we enjoy today. Planting orchards entirely from seed and preceding settlers moving west, John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) offered groves producing cider-ready fruit to new residents of the area.
A few more fun facts:
- John Adams, 2nd president of the United States, drank (hard cider) regularly at breakfast to “soothe his stomach”. - Two Rivers Cider Company
- Cider's popularity began to wane in the early 1900s. Huge numbers of German and Eastern European immigrants brought with them a penchant for beer over cider. - Serious Eats
- Prohibition played a role in the current day shortage of cider apples - Rueters has more info here.
- Hard Cider helped William Henry Harrison win his election to office - after a jab from an opposing party newspaper referencing his love of the beverage, he used the attention to start the 'Log Cabin Campaign' identifying with the voters frequent imbibing. - History.com
- Our modern use of the word 'cider' came into the English language by way of ancient Hebrew texts - Bon Appetit has the scoop.
- It takes approximately 36 apples to produce 1 gallon of hard cider. - Atlas Cider Company
What's your favorite type of hard cider?
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