Cider the Hard Way

Hard cider is the fastest-growing segment of the beer and malt beverage industry, yet there are few producers in Ohio even though we are among the top ten apple producers in the country. Here’s a roundup of some Buckeye state small-batch hard cider makers.

Griffin Cider Works

Griffin Cider Works has been in the Cleveland area for a while, but owner Richard Read recently opened the area’s first cider house in Lakewood. Griffin Cider House (12401 Madison Avenue in Lakewood) features its own hard ciders, including Burley Man, The Lemon Blues, and Jolly Friar, as well as other brands.

Mad Moon

For Mad Moon Hard Cider’s Unglued Caramel Apple, “my wife makes 27 gallons of caramel at a time. It’s a messy, hot job,” says Peter Moon, who launched the Columbus cidery in 2014.

Meniru Meadery

Fermented dry, back sweetened with clover, and aged on oak, Honey Hard Cider is a favorite at Meniru Meadery & Brewery (5866 Fulton Drive NW in Canton).

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Legend Valley Cider

Dave Fayerweather has been making cider as a hobby for years, but finally went into business last year. Legend Valley Cider’s hard ciders are made in more of a “wine style with higher alcohol,” he says. “They are smoother and more tart than most. And a little drier.”

Barrel Run Crossing

Barrel Run Crossing Winery (3272 Industry Road in Rootstown) makes two ciders: Cattle Dog is a dry cider, while Up a Creek is a semisweet apple wine made with apples from Barrel Run’s own orchard.

West End Cider

Drawing on his experience as a professional fermenter, Kelly Sauber, who owns Fifth Elements Spirits, opened the West End Cider House (234 W. Washington Street in Athens), the only place to sample his house-made ciders for $6 per pint. “Our apples range from many eating varieties to a few crab for their tannins,” says Sauber. “And we use no sulfites or preservatives in our process.”