With positive feedback and a desire to create a better cider, Gorove opened the doors to Wild Cider in 2012 in Firestone. The rural location, thirty miles north of Denver, was chosen because it sits on fourteen acres of what was once known as “the fruit basket of the West"; at one point it was home to two million fruit trees in Weld County.
“We wanted to do our own orchard,” Gorove explains. “Cider fruit is still very difficult to find.”
So the cider maker planted 1,100 trees five years ago, with the first usable apples still a few years away. The fruit used for Wild Cider's lineup currently comes from the Northwest. Gorove's flagship apple cider is made with red apples; it's balanced with hints of tropical fruit. Lemon Basil, Bee Hoppy and Blueberry Hibiscus are the most popular varieties after the original.
“The Lemon Basil idea came from when our neighbors had extra basil and brought some over,” Gorove says, adding that the cider — infused with organic basil and lemon juice — has become one of his most requested products. The first keg sold out in twenty minutes, so Gorove no longer relies on his neighbor for herbs. Instead, he uses basil grown in Hawaii.
The Hard Pineapple has hints of vanilla and butterscotch, and the Agave Peach is made with organic agave and whole ripe peaches. For those with a craving for holiday flavors, there's also Hard Pumpkin and Spiced Apple Pie, with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and orange.
Gorove says it’s the ability to check on the cider multiple times during production that leads to the great taste. “I’ve got my hands on every batch,” he says. “We check it multiple times and pay attention to detail.”
He also attributes the popularity of his cider to its low sugar content, which makes it much more appealing, in his opinion.
The dog- and kid-friendly Cider Garden takes advantage of Wild Cider's expansive property and its mountain views, but is only open from May until October. There's also a wood-fired oven turning out pizzas with cider in the crust, but gluten-free crusts are also available.
Gorove notes that Wild Cider is committed to supporting animal charities and the "wild places" they live, and also hosts events that support troops and vets.
Wild Cider is located at 11455 County Road 17 in Firestone. Call 303-532-9949 or visit the Wild Cider website for hours, events and other information. Look for several Wild Cider flavors in cans at larger Denver liquor stores.