The apple. We all know it; as kids it would regularly appear in our lunch boxes at school, but have you ever given thought to how amazing a fruit it really is? It is native to the mountains of Central Asia but quickly spread across Asia and Europe. Apples appear throughout history in Norse and Greek mythology and have held religious places in many other European civilizations. You can eat it fresh, cook with it, preserve it and it has great nutritional value...remember "An apple a day keeps the doctor away?" In fact, the apple has over 57,000 genes, about 27,000 more than humans and the most of any fruit or vegetable analyzed to date! And speaking of humans, we have an innate need to find uses for things that seem unusable. That's how cider came to be!
In North America, alcoholic cider made from apples is often called "Hard Cider", however in Europe and other places when you say cider it means "hard cider" and it is definitely not new. When the Romans invaded Britain around the year 55 BC, they discovered that all of the Celts were drinking cider made from crab apples. This isn't surprising as humans have tried to ferment and drink just about every fruit and vegetable on the planet! So what's the difference between the sweet cider you get in the fall at an orchard and alcoholic cider? It's all in the trees...
Millenia ago when people collected "wild" apples to cultivate, they found that planting an apple from the tree you liked did not create a tree that bore the same apples that you planted. Apple trees are not "true to type", which means the only way to get a tree to produce the same apples is by taking a limb from that tree (the scion) and grafting it onto another root (the rootstock). That means that every Red Delicious apple you eat has come from a tree that is a direct descendant of the original Red Delicious apple tree!
As people foraged for food, many things they gathered were unappetizing but rather than waste the food, alternative uses, included alcholic beverages, were stumbled upon. Unlike dessert or eating apples, most cider apples are very bitter and have an unpalatable taste. Fortunately, it is these specific traits that make a good cider. When balanced properly by blending different apple juices, the acids and tannins (the thing that makes you pucker) create a complex flavour profile in the cider with good depth and "mouth feel." Unfortunately, dessert or culinary apples alone often create a bland or simplistic cider that needs to be back sweetened or flavoured. Due to the rarity of cider apples in North America, especially in Canada, many ciders are being created using primarily dessert and culinary apples. We want to help change that...Who we are and what we do!