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Carr’s Ciderhouse has been eight years in the making (twice that, if you count dreaming!) and we were so pleased to launch our line of hand-made, barrel-aged, small-batch hard cider in 2012. Our young orchard of 2000 apple trees was planted in 2007 and 2012 on the north-west slope of Mount Warner in North Hadley, Massachusetts. It’s just beginning to yield now! A spectacular view of the Connecticut River Valley spreads out below the orchard, but more importantly, our shallow sandy-loam soil, underlain with quartzite and feldspar bedrock, enables us to grow intensely-flavored apples of high sugar content.

We press our apples on a refurbished century-old Mount Gilead cider press (one of the oldest working presses in New England, we suppose) in the ciderhouse when the weather starts turning cold. It’s usually December by the time we finish pressing and we let the juice freeze naturally and it stays that way until we are ready to begin fermentation. Depending on which style of hard cider we are making, we thaw the juice or we extract a naturally freeze-concentrated juice to ferment. After a long, slow, relatively cool (50 degrees) fermentation, it is allowed to settle before being racked to age in oak barrels for 6 months until it is finally blended and bottled.

We don’t rush this process (though it takes much longer) because our finished ciders retain their natural fruit bouquet without resorting to added flavorings like many mass-market commercial ciders.  Our ciders pair very well with food – please find out more about particular ciders at our products page.

An exciting new happening we would like you to know about (which is very important in the long term, ecologically speaking) is our Cider Apple Project, where we are breeding new cider apple varieties for disease resistance (and hence less spraying!).