Summer event in Port Townsend helps to change cider’s image, organizers say

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The fourth annual Summer Cider Day is helping the transition of cider from a boutique beverage to something that could be found on any table.

“The growth is happening steadily, every year,” said Sherrye Wyatt, who heads the Northwest Cider Association, a trade group.

“This is the biggest event we’ve had so far, and it reflects the growth in the industry and how a lot of people are enjoying cider.”

About 500 people attended the five-hour event at the Northwest Maritime Center on Saturday, sampling 70 different ciders from 21 vendors from Washington, Oregon, Montana and British Columbia.

Wyatt said cider has an identity problem because it has similarities with both wine and beer but doesn’t fit into either category.

“There are still a lot of people who don’t know what cider is, so we need to encourage them to give it a try,” she said.

“A lot of them hear the word cider and think about fruit juice.”

Three of the cideries exhibiting are from East Jefferson County: Port Townsend’s Alpenfire and Eaglemount and Finn River, both of Chimacum.

All of them say they don’t compete with the other due to the large size of the market and the inclination to help each other out.

Steve “Bear” Bishop, who owns Alpenfire, has his own orchard and keeps his product organic.

“There is not a stitch of pesticides or preservatives in our cider,” he said.

“This gives it a clear, clean taste you can’t get anywhere else.”

Jim and Trudy Davis, who own Eaglemount, have infused their cider with ginger, quince and rhubarb.

“We set out to make cider that isn’t just from apples,” Jim Davis said.

“It was Trudy’s idea to try all these new combinations.”

Those attending the event got a cider glass and 10 sample tickets for the price of admission, with each ticket entitling them to a two-ounce pour.

For more information go to www.nwcider.com.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 10. 2014 5:57PM
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