COMMUNITY CIDER PROGRAMS HELP NONPROFITS
Countless cideries are working to give back through a variety of programs. For many, the proceeds from a specific cider made are donated to a chosen organization. And while that certainly makes an impact, several Pacific Northwest cideries are taking it one step further and starting from the source when it comes to making a cider to benefit their community – they’re starting with the apples.
For Seattle Cider Company, it all began in 2014 when City Fruit, an organization dedicated to redirecting excess fruit waste from urban trees, dropped off the first delivery of apples. Just one year later, apples were upcycled and made into the first City Fruit cider. This made use of apples that were not able to be donated to the food bank.
“As a cidery, our partnership with City Fruit gives our cidermaking team the opportunity to connect more directly with the most important ingredient we use to craft our local ciders — apples,” says Maura Hardman, public relations and marketing manager for Seattle Cider. “Using City Fruit apples to create City Fruit Cider allows Seattle Cider to make a meaningful contribution to the community by supporting City Fruit programs which focus on promoting and preserving urban fruit to nourish people, build community and protect the environment. Diverting apple harvest waste and creating a cider is a fantastic sustainability practice.”
According to Hardman, Seattle Cider’s City Fruit offering is a quintessentially Seattle cider. “The apples are harvested from within Seattle’s urban canopy, then pressed, fermented, packaged and sold in Seattle,” she says. With the proceeds from the sales of the cider, $3,500 is donated annually to City Fruit programs.
Portland Cider Company’s Community Cider project started in 2015 as well. “We’ve always thought the idea of using unwanted and wasted backyard apples in a cider would be fun,” says Lynda Parrish, who owns Portland Cider Company with her husband Jeff. “As our Portland Cider community grew, we decided to call upon them to make that dream possible. Not only are we able to find a great use for that otherwise wasted fruit, but we’re able to give back from the final results.”
The cidery’s offering is made with apples and pears that are donated by the community. Most of the fruit comes from area residents who have plenty of fallen or unwanted fruit in their backyards. Net profits from the sale of the cider are donated to Hunger-Free Oregon, an organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger by funding school meals. Since 2015, the crafting of this cider has led to donating $47,500.
Wheel Line Cider, located in Ellensburg, Wash., released its first ciders in 2017. A few years later, the cidery kicked off its community cider program with a call for donated apples in the fall of 2021. “One of our business pillars is community involvement, and this seemed like a wonderful opportunity for our community to get involved in something that would benefit local nonprofits [that] folks know and are passionate about around Kittitas County,” says Maryanna Schane, director of sales and marketing for Wheel Line.
According to Schane, the Kittitas Valley is famous for hay production, but there has also been an increase in orchards planted. “Aside from more orchards, our valley has a plethora of personal fruit trees, and with an abundance of harvested fruits, it is nice to give folks an opportunity to get involved in a project that they will see direct results from,” she says. “People can take pride year-after-year in knowing they have donated fruit to press to create a fun beverage that will in turn support something within our community.” For the inaugural cider, apples were donated by local farms as well as valley neighbors with fruit trees.
Wheel Line released its first Rodeo City Community Cider in the spring of 2022 and $2,500 from the proceeds was gifted to Kittitas County CattleWomen, an organization devoted to promoting women in agriculture.