Our approach to releasing cider is similar to that of the wine industry's Négociant.
A négociant is a merchant who purchases grapes, unfermented raw grape juice, or bulk wine from a small farmer or producer and then presses, ferments, and / or bottles the wine under the their own label, and sells it.
Although our original intention was to be cidermakers, making cider from Vermont McIntosh, Empire, and Cortland apples grown by my previous employer Sunrise Orchards, we realized after 2 years of testing that this fruit would not yield the type of full-flavored cider that we enjoy most. We need traditional cider apples to make the full-flavored ciders that we love, and those apples are only grown at a very small scale in the United States and mostly by companies who also make their own cider.
We developed two solutions to this apple conundrum: plant true cider apples and find full-flavored ciders, wherever they may be in the world, and bring them to the U.S.
To the first point, our orchard partner Sunrise Orchards is helping us out by getting the first ever wholesale cider fruit orchard planted that's not managed by a cidermaker.
And to the second point, we traveled to areas where full-flavored ciders have been continuously made for centuries. Regions like Herefordshire and Somerset in England, the Basque region and Asturias in Spain, and Brittany and Normandy in France. After trying dozens and dozens of ciders and touring an equal number of cider houses, we settled on two cidermakers, who we think make two of the best ciders in the world.
And, with that, we bring you the Hereford and the Basque.