Washington's hard cider industry, which has seen its producer numbers quintuple over the past few years, seems poised to keep growing, Northwest Cider Association secretary David White says.
"It's all selling," says White, who plans to open his own cidery later this year.
White theorizes thatcustomers respond to the diversity and quality of the state's hard ciders. While many of the state's 14 cider makers learned their cider techniques from Peter Mitchell, a British cider and perry expert who leads a Washington State University extension course that helped spur the current cider wave, White insists their ciders are remarkably different.
"It's pretty much like wine," White says. "It's up to the maker."
Like wine, ciders reflect terroir and their producers' preferences. "With blending, you can do just about anything," White says. But unlike the wine industry, the regional cider industry is distinguished by widespread collaboration and cooperation.
"None of us considers each other competitors," White says.
This weekend, 10 local cider makers are joining for "Summer Cider Day", a tasting event in Port Townsend. Six cideries from beyond Washington are also sending representatives, giving attendees the chance to try more than 50 different ciders.
"The majority of our members will be pouring their goods from the 2010 harvest," White says. "Chances are you'll find something you like. There's a cider for everyone."