Since the early revolutionary days of our country, Americans have loved hard cider. Founded in 2001, Blue Mountain Cider Company in Oregon has been continuing that tradition with their crisp, handcrafted ciders. Using only apples from their orchards in the renowned Walla Walla Valley in the Pacific Northwest, Ron Brown and his family personally select the finest apples to blend and ferment. They are one of the few American artisan cideries that add fresh juice and a dash of carbonation to enhance flavor.
Ron’s sons Eric, Jared and Andrew have all joined the business and are taking their family’s ciders to the next level.
We spoke with Ron’s son Eric about what makes Blue Mountain Cider unique.
Mollie Stone’s (MS): How is Blue Mountain Cider different than other ciders?
Eric Brown (EB): Unlike the majority of other cider producers, we grow our own apples and we fresh press juice year-round. We are growers first. My brother Jared farms our entire 1,300 acres with my Uncle Leonard. When the crop is harvested, my brother Andrew crafts it into something special. Branch to bottle, from our farm to your table…there are many terms that can be used to describe what we do but not many growers who continue the process like we do.
MS: How long have you been making cider? Tell us more about the history of your farm.
EB: My dad Ron started Blue Mountain Hard Cider Company in 2001. He saw it as a way to minimize waste from apples that didn’t make the cut for the fresh market. He learned in the process that dessert apples are overly sweet and don’t make the perfect cider. We planted 60 acres of cider specific apple varietals about seven years ago in order to hit a certain taste profile. My dad’s siblings are all involved in the business. Moving forward, my brothers and I, along with my cousins Dan and Chris, have big plans in store for Blue Mountain Cider.
MS: What are the best ways to enjoy Blue Mountain Cider?
EB: Our ciders are very similar to varietal specific white wines because they are stylistically dry and pair well with many different foods. Having said that, they don’t need food to shine. Ciders have emerged as an alternative to other alcoholic beverages due to some of the allergies associated with brewing beer and fermenting wine. Our ciders are crisp and refreshing, and don’t leave you with the full feeling you might get with certain types of beer.
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