Snow Capped Cider is owned and operated by a family that has been growing apples in Cedaredge for 105 years. “We are the largest apple producer in the state of Colorado,” says owner Kari Williams, and those apples have fueled the cider business itself.
The apples are grown on more than 600 acres at around 6,130 feet, which is the highest elevation for apple-growing in the Northern Hemisphere, according to Williams. Five years ago, she and her family noticed that cider was quickly gaining in popularity. “We thought, ‘We have this heirloom cider fruit growing here. We can make some pretty great cider,’” she recalls.
The family didn’t set out to make it a big business. “In the beginning, we weren’t super-awesome cider makers — we just had great fruit,” Williams says. But she and her family quickly learned what they were doing, and the cider took off. Since last year, Snow Capped Cider has been available statewide, and its makers are now preparing to offer ciders in cans.
There are no artificial ingredients in any of the ciders. “You’re not going to find a hazelnut Cocoa Puff cider here,” laughs Williams. “If we can’t use fresh ingredients, we won’t make it.”
Williams points to one of her personal favorite ciders, Habanero Lime, as an example. “When we’re making this, we are in gloves and goggles, hand-cutting each habanero,” she explains. The result is a flavorful mouthful with a peppery finish.
Other fruits grown on their property, such as peaches, apricots, cherries and pears, make appearances in ciders such as the semi-sweet Colorado Peach, the drier Sour Cherry, and JalaPEARno, which gets its sweetness from pears. The Old North 40' is an unfiltered cider fermented with wild yeasts for an Old World profile.
Along with the quality of fruit and rich history of apple production, what sets Snow Capped Cider apart from many others is the unique location of the tasting room. You can sample cider at the Apple Shed, a 55,000-square-foot space with fine art and high-end furniture, wines from Williams Cellars and a restaurant, culinary store and women’s clothing boutique. The art gallery — which displays art by Williams’s mother-in-law, Connie Williams, along with other local artists — winds its way through the whole building.
The Apple Shed is located at 250 South Grand Mesa Drive in Cedaredge on the Western Slope. For more information on the tasting room, visit theappleshed.net or call 970-856-7007. For more information on where to get the cider, visit the Snow Capped Cider Facebook Page.