Apple cider has quite a history in the United States. The first apple trees made it to Boston in 1623 and they were widely planted by the early 1800’s. Cider, hard cider in those days, was a drink from the old country which quickly established itself here in the 18th and 19th centuries. Before the development of preservative techniques, fresh cider rapidly and naturally fermented into hard cider. This was considered a way to “store” your apples after season being thought of as a safe and family drink. In fact, cider was regarded as safer than drinking water, due to the lack of effective water treatment. Presidents like John Adams popularized the health benefits of cider as it became the drink of choice for early Americans.
In the mid-1800’s, cider production began to decline due in part to urbanization, the introduction of beer and the temperance movement. In 1899, 55 million gallons were produced which by 1915 or so was down to 13 million gallons; and then in 1919, production declined even further as prohibition was the law of the land.
Since the apple varieties used to make “hard” cider were not suitable for making a “fresh” cider, many orchards converted to sweeter cultivars, actually taking out or burning their cider trees. When prohibition ended, the damage was irreversible to the hard cider industry, as the trees were gone and new plantings would take years to establish.
During the mid-1900’s, many Wisconsin apple growers produced “fresh” cider. Most orchards and many homeowners had cidermills that would turn out raw cider in the Fall of the year.
In the 1990’s, new FDA rules called for the pasteurization of any cider not sold directly from the orchard that pressed it to the final consumer. Plus, any cider sold direct had to carry a warning label that the product may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in those with a compromised immune system. This was another hit to the apple cider industry, causing many producers – including Wisconsin apple growers -- to get out of the cider business.
But, this is not the end of the story! Nationally, in the last 10 years, cider has begun making a comeback. In 2004, national hard cider production was reported at 4.25 million gallons and by 2011, that had more than doubled to 9.2 million gallons! Euromonitor expects U.S. cider sales to grow 10.6 percent on average, or 65 percent overall, from 2011 to 2016, with beer as a whole down 1 percent.
In 2013, it was reported that the United States had 202 cideries, coming second after the United Kingdom with 300.
Wisconsin has seen similar trends. In the last ten years, nine cideries have been established producing hard cider in Wisconsin and more are starting up. They crisscross the state being located in Bayfield, Burlington, Stockholm and Ellison Bay as well as places in between. It is evident that hard cider is a developing industry in the state.
On the fresh cider front, the Wisconsin Apple Growers Association represents 170 commercial apple growers from across the state. In 2012, of those reporting, 53 indicated that they sold cider. Of that, 50% indicated they sold “natural” (raw) cider and 50% indicated they sold pasteurized cider. Some sold both.
2020 Cider Contest Winners
Each January, fresh ciders are brought to the Wisconsin Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Conference where entries are tasted, evaluated and voted upon to choose the Apple Cider of the Year.
In the Raw/Ultraviolet Division the winners were:
1st PLACE Rami Aburomia, Atoms to Apples, Mount Horeb - Blend of Goldrush, Crimson Topaz, Honeycrisp
2nd PLACE Adam Gasch, Heritage Orchard of Chilton - Blend of McIntosh, Empire, Ida Red, Red & Golden Delicious
Apple Barn Orchard & Winery, Elkhorn, Wisconsin
Apple Holler, Sturtevant, Wisconsin
Apple Valley Orchard, DePere, Wisconsin
Appleberry Farm, Cross Plains, Wisconsin
Appleland, Fredonia, Wisconsin
Armstrong Apples Orchard & Winery, Campbellsport, Wisconsin
Autumn Harvest Winery and Cidery, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
AVEnue Orchard/Apple Valley Enterprises, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Awe's Apple Orchard, Franklin, Wisconsin
Barthel Fruit Farm, Mequon, Wisconsin
Basse's Country Delight Farm Market, Muskego, Wisconsin
Basse's Taste of Country Farm Market, Colgate, Wisconsin
Brightonwoods Orchard, Burlington, Wisconsin
Bushel and A Peck, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Christensen's Orchard, Waupaca, Wisconsin
Class Apple, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Door Creek Orchard, Cottage Grove, Wisconsin
Dream Apple Farm, Port Washington, Wisconsin
Dutter's Gibbsville Orchard, Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin
Ecker's Apple Farm, Trempealeau, Wisconsin
Ela Orchard, Rochester, Wisconsin
Eplegaarden LLC, Fitchburg, Wisconsin
Eugster's Farm Market Inc., Stoughton, Wisconsin
Everflow Farm and Orchard, Bonduel, Wisconsin
Ferguson's Orchards, Galesville & Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Glenwood Orchard, Glenwood City, Wisconsin
Green's Pleasant Springs Orchard, Stoughton, Wisconsin
Hafs Road Orchard, Genoa City, Wisconsin
Hauser's Superior View Farm, Bayfield, Wisconsin
Hawk's Orchard, Milton, Wisconsin
Heritage Orchard, Chilton, Wisconsin
Hillside Apples, Casco, Wisconsin
Hillview Farm, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Hofacker's Hillside Orchard, Appleton, Wisconsin
Jacobson Orchards, Waterford, Wisconsin
Jasper Apples, Wonewoc, Wisconsin
Jelli's Apple Orchard, Helenville, Wisconsin
Kickapoo Orchard, Gays Mills, Wisconsin
Lapacek's Orchard LLC, Poynette, Wisconsin
Log Cabin Orchard, Plymouth, Wisconsin
Maiden Rock Apples, Stockholm Wisconsin
Maple Leaf Orchard, Spring Valley, Wisconsin
Maple Ridge Orchard, Cashton, Wisconsin
Northwoods Orchard and Farm Market, Mauston, Wisconsin
Oakwood Fruit Farm Inc., Richland Center, Wisconsin
Old Homestead Orchard, Franksville, Wisconsin
Oneida Nation Apple Orchard, Oneida, Wisconsin
Lautenbach's Orchard Country Winery & Market, Fish Creek, Wisconsin
Pieper's Fruit Farm LLC, Brownsville, Wisconsin
Pigeon River Apple Orchard, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Quednow's Heirloom Apple Orchard, Elkhorn, Wisconsin
Rim's Edge Orchard, Germantown, Wisconsin
Rush River Orchard and Bakery, Ellsworth, Wisconsin
Sacia Orchards, Galesville, Wisconsin
Shihata's Orchard, Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin
Ski-Hi Fruit Farm, Baraboo, Wisconsin
Star Orchard, Kaukauna, Wisconsin
Sunrise Orchards, Inc., Gays Mills, Wisconsin
Sunset Valley Orchard, Bayfield, Wisconsin
Sutter's Ridge Farm, Mount Horeb, Wisconsin
Ten Eyck Orchard, Brodhead, Wisconsin
The Cider Farm, Mineral Point, Wisconsin
The Elegant Farmer, Mukwanago, Wisconsin
The Little Farmer LLC, Malone, Wisconsin
Theys Orchards, Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Timberland Hills Orchard & Gardens, Frederic, Wisconsin
Tom Dooley Orchard, Waupun, Wisconsin
Whistling Well Farm, Hastings, Minnesota
AeppelTreow Winery specializes in hard cider and its kin. Our inspiration comes from America's forgotten cider heritage and the farmstead ciders of rural England and France. We add our own creative touch to take cider from its barrel and mug origins and produce a wide range of styles, light to hard and dry to sweet.
Our winery is an extension of our passion for quality, flavor and wholesome ideals. At Armstrong we are passionate about our fruit. We endeavor to grow fruit that provides the best flavor and quality in our wines and ciders.
Since 1924 when Grandpa Mac took on this orchard adventure, our family has always taken pride in providing quality produce to our neighbors. In 2004, Autumn Harvest Winery opened as the Chippewa Valley's first winery and we expanded our offerings to include quality wines and cider.
Wineries on Betzold Road, Bayfield is located high on the hills overlooking the waters of Lake Superior. The Hausers specialize in making traditional ciders and country wines. They range from J.D. Hauser's Grand Reserve, a very dry cider that is aged in oak, to Raspberry Farm House Cider and Cranberry Farm House Cider, sweet ciders combined with Wisconsin raspberries and cranberries.
Visit to taste our ice cider wines. Brances is one of the only winereis in the Midwest producing ice cider wines and has received national awards for its unique and luscious Wisconsin Ice Cider.
Our family-run farm began in 2007 on 32 acres in beautiful Hamburg WI. Our plan was to make wine from the cold-hardy grapes we can grow here, but we quickly realized that even “cold-hardy” doesn't necessarily mean “Wisconsin-proof”. The grapes struggled, so we started looking at other options for Wisconsin-based wines. Meads and Hard Ciders were a natural fit.
We welcome you to visit our family-friendly farm. During mid summer our berries are open for u-pick (watch our Facebook page for updates and times). The winery is open every Friday & Saturday from 1pm-7pm from May through December (November and December 1pm-5pm). There are several outdoor patio/picnic areas where you can enjoy the wine and the scenery. We look forward to seeing you!
- Gerrid and Sadie Franke
100+ years, five-generation greenhouse, nursery, orchard and cidery housed in historic 1928 Sears barn with a Lake Superior View!
Field-grown perennials, annuals, cherries, blueberries, apples, cider homemade jams and gifts.
Try the new hard cider--from blossom to bottle, made right, right here at Hauser's Superior View Farm.
Open daily May through October 10am - 5pm. 86565 County Hwy J, Bayfield, WI 54814 - firstname.lastname@example.org - 715-779-5404 (May - October). www.superiorviewfarm.com - Facebook: HausersSuperiorViewFarm
Island Orchard Cider began on our farm on Washington Island, just across Death’s Door passage from mainland Door County. Located on a hill overlooking Lake Michigan, our orchard has expanded with our passion for cider, and we now produce several varieties of Normandy-style, gluten-free cider in our Cider House in the small town of Ellison Bay, WI.
We are Bob and Yannique Purman, sole proprietors of Island Orchard Cider. Our love of cider guides us as we handcraft our product in Door County, Wisconsin. We relish the cyclical, seasonal nature of our work, and we take pride in building a sustainable business in a way that preserves the joy of the cider-making process. We look forward to your visit to our Cider House that offers flight tastings, small plates, and full glasses of our cider!
Owned by the Lautenbach family since 1955, the property consists of acres of blossoming orchards, lush vineyards, a winery, cider mill and farm market. Established in 1985, the winery resides in a restored dairy barn built in 1912. Scenic tours offer a visit to the orchard, vineyard, cider mill and wine production area as well as include a commemorative wine glass.
Maiden Rock's signature offerings are classic hard ciders crafted in the farmhouse tradition of southwestern England like their Scrumpy, Somerset Cider, Bitter Love, Lake Pepin, Kingston Black, and their most recent release, Honeycrisp Hard™ apple cider. They also craft a number of apple table wines – including their award-winning Dolgo Crabapple, Eau Claire, and Harvest Apple wines. Their grape wines include Stockholm Red, Stockholm White, and Frontenac Nouveau – as well as a grape-apple blend, Apfelwein.
They take pride in their products being flavored by Wisconsin. This is more than a theme; it is central to their business model. All of their wines and ciders use juice from fruits that are locally produced in Wisconsin. Even the honey they use in some of their products is produced by the same bees they bring in to pollinate their apple blossoms.
Rushford Meadery and Winery was founded in 2012. With 18 varieties of cider apples and 6 varieties of grapes, we take pride in producing fine wine, mead (honey wine) and cider from local products whenever possible.
Visit The Cider Farm Cidery and Tasting Room in Madison at 8216 Watts Road. At our Cidery we ferment the juice from our organic apples to fine ciders. You can enjoy them with seasonal and local fare in our Tasting Room and select bottles to take home. We grow organically rare English and French cider apples, the wine grapes of apples, to make find ciders and apple brandy. You can also enjoy and purchase our Wisconsin Organic Maple Syrup infused with Apple Brandy. Please join our email list to learn of our Cider Club, events, our apple-fed whole and half hogs for sale and for seasonal tours of The Cider Farm at www.TheCiderFarm.com. (Please note that we use all our rare organic apples for our products and do not sell them.)
Vines & Rushes Winery was established in 2012 and is located on the Prellwitz family farm in Ripon, Wisconsin. We are focused on using Wisconsin grown cold hardy grape varieties and apples. We produce delicious hard apple ciders. Our focus is on fruit-forward flavors and achieving the perfect balance for each wine and cider.
White Winter Winery is located amid the beautiful northwoods in the bustling town of Iron River. Our mission is to produce high quality Mead, Cider and Spirits using locally produced fruits and honey. We invite you to our tasting room to try a sample of Mead - the nectar of the gods, Spirits and Hard Cider.
CIDER VARIETIES GROWN
Brix Cider, Barneveld, Wis Marie & Matt Raboin,
American Pippen, Black Oxford, Bramtot, Chisel Jersey, Claypot, Dabinett, Ellis B itter, Gilpin, Golden Noble, Hadlock's Reinnette, Harrison, Iron Bridge, Kingston Black, Linsey Russet, Medaille d'Ore, Merton's Russet, Milwaukee, Pink Delight, Pink Old Lady, Prink Princess, Redfield, Sherry, St. Edmund's Russet, Swaar, Sweet Alford, Theilen, Wickson Crab, Yarlington Mill
Brightonwoods Orchard, Burlington, Wis Bill Stone
Ashmead Kernel (4), Belle De Crollon (1), Binet Blanc (1), Blenheim Orange (6), Chisel Jersey (3), Coat Jersey (2), Crimson King (2), Dabinett (4) Domaine (4), Dyer (3), Fairhaven Crab (2), Frequin La Calle (3), Frequin Rouge (3), Frequin Tardive (3), Geneva (2), Golden Harvey (3), Golden Russet (20), Graniwinkle (3), Grise Dieppoise (4), Gros Frequin (1), Harrison (2), Hewes Virginia Crab (4), Kingston Black (3), Margil (8), Medaille d'or (3), Mettais (3), Michelin (1), Muscadet d'Dieppe (4), Muscedet deLense (2), Pome Gris (2), Red Jersey (2), Red Summer Russet (12), Roxbury Russet (13), Saint Martin (4), Stembridge Jersey (2), Taliaferro (3), Toussant Chevalier (4), Twistbody Jersey (6), White Jersey (7), Wickson Crab (1).
Door Creek Orchard, Cottage Grove, Wis Tom Griffith
Fox Whelp, Kingston Black, Medaille d'or, Sups of Wine
Dream Apple Farm Port Washington, Wis Peggy Callahan
Goldrush, Brown Snout, Virginia Crab and Ashmead's Kernel
Ecker's Apple Farm Trempealeau, Wis Mary Ecker
Brown's Apple, Brown Snout,Dabinett, Kingston Black, Vilberie
Ferro Family Farm, Lake Geneva, Wis Jackie Ferro
Bramley's Seedling, Brown's Apple, Herefordshire Redstreak, Kingston Black, Michelin
Licks Orchard, Rice Lake, Wis Sherry & Jim Goodpaster
Maiden Rock Apples Stockholm, Wis Herdie Baisden
Brown's Apple, Brown Snout, Chisel Jersey, Dabinett, Ellis Bitter, Kingston Black, Kronebusch, Major, Medaille d'or, Michelin, Somerset Restreak, Tremlett's (Geneva) Bitter, Yarlington Mill
Sacia Orchards, Galesville, Wis Scott Kee
Arkansas Black (300); Winesap (300); Wolf River (300)
Shealtiel Springs, Waupaca, Wis John Sturm
Bohnapfel, Brown Snout, Calville Blanc, Campfield, Chisel Jersey, Dabinett, Frequin Rouge, Geneva Tremlett's Bitter, Golden Russet, Graniwinkle, Harrison, Harry Masters Jersey, Hewes Crab, Kronebusch, Margil, Porter's Perfection, Puget Spice, Redfield, Reine de Reinettes, Stoke Red, Trierer Weinapfel, Wickson Crab.
The Cider Farm, Mineral Point, Wis Deirdre Birmingham
Chisel Jersey (1000), Dabinett (2000), Ellis Bitter (800), Kingston Black (60), Major (500), Kronebusch (300), Somerset Restreak (60), Tremlett's Bitter (75), Mettais (100)
Theys Orchard, Luxemburg, Wis Jim & Judy Theys