Upstate New York, once the country’s hops capital, is now overrun with apples, soy, corn and other cash crops. During Prohibition, Farmers from Syracuse to Saratoga were encouraged by changing cultural attitudes and economic incentives to rip out their vines and plant anew, further inhibiting the brewing industry and contributing to big beer’s dominance throughout the 20th century. Fast forward to today: the price of corn is at a three year low, our apples are trucked in from Central America and yet New York is experience a craft beer boom to rival any other state in the country.
Enter cider! Following the lead of neighboring breweries, Highland’s Bad Seed Cider is making good use of the current agricultural landscape, quenching a cultural thirst for sustainable products and boosting a rundown local economy by turning crops into handcrafted artisanal spirits and cider. Last Fall, I grabbed a couple of gluten-free friends and traveled upstate to visit the cidery. I was interested in calling attention to Bad Seed's commitment to working in concert with craft breweries to increase the consumer’s ability and desire to drink local, and I wanted to see how they made just great, beer-inspired cider.
For cider makers Albert and Devin, a couple of farm boys who grew up together on the family orchard, getting The Cider Act passed by the state senate means everything. The Cider Act would allow Bad Seed to take advantage of tourism in the same manner as craft breweries, providing tours and tastings to interested folks on weekend trips Upstate. Though they recently signed a distribution deal with Manhattan Beer, passing The Cider Act would allow the boys to fully enjoy the same exposure as the rest of the taps at the bar.
Good news for cider fans -- Bad Seed Cider will be available in NYC this month! Ask your local bottle shop to stock up on some of their beautiful Belgian bottles. Let's welcome Bad Seed into NY's craft state community in style.