Although they are classified as wineries, America's has a burgeoning crew of small cider makers who often associate themselves more with craft-beer taproom culture.
"I think there is a little bit of division in the industry, such as it is," says Brad Page, founder of Colorado Cider Company and a board member of the Rocky Mountain Cider Association. "But we want to be amongst craft beers. We feel comfortable there."
And perhaps brewers -- or at least homebrewers, anyway -- are beginning to feel more comfortable around cider as well, because on Saturday, May 17, the American Homebrewers Association will host its first-ever membership rally at a cider house.
Nearly 250 people have RSVPed to the event, which shows how interested homebrewers are in cider. And numbers from the Boulder-based AHA back that up. In a 2013 survey, 38 percent of AHA members said they have made cider, up from 33 percent in 2010.
"I have seen cideries popping up all over the country and many were started by beer makers," says AHA president Gary Glass. "So this makes sense for us."
Although the organization doesn't include a lot of information about cider on its website, there are two cider categories in its annual national homebrew competition. And while Glass says the AHA isn't planning to go "out of its way" to hold other rallies at cider makers, he wouldn't be surprised if there were more of them in the future. "This will be one of our larger rallies for the year, so there is obviously a lot of interest on the Front Range," he notes.
I think it is a logical thing," says Page, who was on the Western Slope this week, where he planting his own apple orchards. "Holding them at breweries is probably their first choice, but we are happy they are doing it with us.
"We have homebrewers come into our taproom all the time," he adds. "And because we are a winery and don't have a brewhouse, they are often perplexed. But as long as the alcohol is flowing, everyone is happy."
The rally will run from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at Colorado Cider Company, 2650 West 2nd Avenue; admission is free for AHA members, but non-members can get in free is they join the association -- at a discounted rate. The event will feature tours, samplings, educational info, bottles of cider for sale, and food trucks.
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