Cider Maker's Monday: 12/03/2018 – Community
In the short time since we started this cider journey, we’ve met more than a few people who have received us like old friends. Cider enthusiasts, cider makers and others who are more than happy to share their time, stories, tips, and cider itself. It did not talk long to realize that there’s much more to cider than the drink itself – this is a community.
Over the weekend I attended a back-yard cider share where a group of people from all different backgrounds came together over cider. The share was hosted by Mike of A Few Bad Apples, a modern-day pioneer for cider and community in Pittsburgh. For over a decade Mike and the AFBA crew have been salvaging unwanted fruit, culling invasive plant species (responsibly using their produce) and focusing on community sustainability, with a wide range of ciders to show for it. We met Mike and some of the AFBA crew just a few months ago, but look forward to helping in the community they’ve built and are building for years to come.
I can’t mention Pittsburgh and not give a shout-out to (another) Mike and Beth from the Cider Table. Mike and Beth were the first people we met through cider, and they set the bar for “cider people” high. The first time we met up with them, 3 hours passed like minutes and that we were just getting started. They have put together sampler packs with new-to us ciders on more than one occasion (we always try to return the favor). Most importantly they showed us how welcoming the cider community is, and that there are others who are as excited to share and talk cider as we are.
This community is not limited to the US, either. While traveling through Ireland over the summer we visited Longueville House in Mallow, Co. Cork. Longueville is a beautiful home where you can stay, relax and dine on fine food. They also happen to produce cider (our favorite from our trip) and apple brandy. Rubert, who manages the beverage side of the operation among other things looked after us like family. We look forward to our next trip to Ireland as it holds another visit to Longueville. Their cider is available in the US as O'Callaghan's Irish Cider (same cider, I promise, just a different name for the market here).
All of this and more has been possible because of people who are excited to share cider with others. I encourage you to seek out the same types of people and experiences, join and build your local community, and support your local cider makers and organizations. The experiences you'll have and people you'll meet will be unforgettable.