There’s a new hard cider option in Westchester County from a familiar orchard.
Thompson’s Cider Mill officially launched a line of artisanal hard ciders at RiverMarket Bar and Kitchen in Tarrytown June 13.
Thompson’s Cider Mill has operated from an orchard in southwest Yorktown near Croton-on-Hudson for more than 42 years, but this is its first foray into commercial hard cider. The mill will craft dry and semi-dry ciders from heirloom and specialty apples from its orchard, as well as other Hudson Valley orchards.
Cider Mill founder Geoff Thompson said the favors will infuse the dry and semi-dry styles of England and northern France with “Hudson Valley flare.”
Thompson has experimented with creating apple wine in small batches for more than 15 years, but said he never had a product he wanted to market. Plus, he said there wasn’t a lot of interest in hard cider until recently.
“Over the last five or six years, as craft brewing grew in popularity, hard cider caught on,” he said in the mill’s press announcement. “When my long-time fresh cider customers began asking me why I didn’t offer hard cider, I realized that the time had come to get serious about what I had started all those years before.”
Thompson has teamed up with Dan O’Brien, a neighbor in Yorktown Heights and trained cider maker who has worked in California’s wine industry. O’Brien had been making hard cider from the mill’s raw juice before Thompson contacted him about a formal partnership.
The duo received federal and state permits and began a limited production last spring. By fall, an initial run had been bottled and offered at the mill, which Thompson said went so quickly “we knew we were onto something.”
Thompson said the mill will increase production at a sustainable pace.
“We have a number of high-quality restaurants that have agreed to feature our ciders, and in the coming weeks we will begin to expand our distribution while not getting too far ahead of ourselves.”