When you think about hard cider, you may not think about all of the hard work that goes into making such a delicious beverage. Well for the Swilled Team this weekend, the hard work on the long journey from apple to bottle was very clear. This weekend our awesome team got together and had an orchard planting day or what we like to call Swilled Dog's 1st Annual Swilled Planting Day, and what a great day it was!
So you may ask, why are you planting orchards? Can’t you just take any apple and make hard cider? Or maybe you ask, seems pretty easy, you just stick a tree in the ground and it grows, right? Well as mentioned in previous blog posts, we believe that in order to bring you truly amazing hard ciders here at Swilled Dog, you must start the process by identifying the right apples for the job. In turn, we believe in using a combination of traditional cider making and modern cider making techniques, always considering how to get more people interested in hard cider. With that being said, plenty of great hard ciders can be made using your local grocery store bought apples otherwise known as dessert apples. These apples are typically very good eating and baking apples, but they don’t necessarily make the best hard cider that can really stand on its own. You can however get very creative with these apples by adding different fruits and coming up with some very interesting flavor combinations. Who wouldn’t like to try a mango or pineapple apple cider? But if you are attempting to make a true hard apple cider, your apples must have additional characteristics to make the cider’s flavor profile more interesting. Without boring you too much, characteristics such as sugar content, total acidity, and tannin just to name a few must be considered, and perfecting the right blend of apples is extremely important.
Now how does all of that answer the question of why are you planting your own orchards? Well, it is very, very difficult to find the varieties of (creative cider lingo here ...wait for it…)”cider specific apples” to put into a blend that will transform into an awesome hard cider with the perfect balance of the above characteristics. Therefore, we must make the investment today to plant our own apple trees of these varieties. Trust us, you will thank us one day (4 – 5 years from now). As mentioned above, it was our first “official” Swilled Dog orchard planting day, and it will be the first of many to come in the future. After planting successful orchards last year before Swilled Dog was in existence, we built up enough courage to plant an even bigger orchard this spring of over 120 trees with plans in the works for a bigger 2017 fall and 2018 spring planting. It was a perfect day with a lot of hard work, and it was a total family effort. Over the next few years, this orchard will transform itself into a mature apple orchard full of unique and interesting cider variety apples helping us continue our effort to plant more orchards, promote agriculture in the state, and bring you amazing hard ciders. It also will provide a pretty amazing view! If all goes well, we look forward to sharing these apples with you in a few years.
In the meantime, make sure you go out and grab some bottles of Swilled Dog or find us on tap at your local bar or restaurant. We have some really exciting things planned over the next few weeks. The first is our tap takeover event March 31st at Atomic Grill in Morgantown, WV from 5-10pm. They will be serving awesome BBQ, have all of your favorite Swilled Dog ciders on tap, and have live music. Just like previous events, we will be donating our sales proceeds from the event of our WV Scrumpy. The charity we have chosen for this event is WVU Medicine’s Rosenbaum Family House. Cash donations and much needed items will also be collected. Follow us on social media and check out their website to learn more about the great things they are doing. (http://wvumedicine.org/services/rosenbaum-family-house/).
Lastly, we will have a few big announcements soon about your ability to find Swilled Dog in new markets across the state as well as more details about our Spring/Summer seasonal that is currently in the works. We are so excited to share all of this news with you very soon! Again, make sure to follow us on social media for all of the up to the minute details. Until then, #GetSwilled.