Award-winning Stoic Cider expanding
New trees, new flavors, wider distribution, co-founder says
Stoic Cider has had a busy year and a half since selling its first bottles to the public in December 2017 — it recently won a gold medal at the largest cider competition in the world and is working on expansions, said Tierney Routson, co-founder.
At the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, held May 15-17, Stoic Cider’s Serenade, a blend of Colorado heritage apple fermented to dryness then combined with fresh Dolgo crabapple juice, took home a gold medal. The company also won four silver medals and a bronze.
When Tierney and husband, Kanin, started the cidery on his family’s farm, located about 25 miles northwest of downtown Prescott in Williamson Valley, they were trying out the idea, seeing if they enjoyed making cider, if it was something they could do well and whether or not people would drink it, she said.
They were excited to find that other people really like their product.
“It’s our goal here,” Tierney said. “We just want to make the world’s best cider.”
After getting their feet wet for the first year and a half, they are now working on increasing distribution, heading into Phoenix more in addition to the Verde Valley, Jerome, Cottonwood, and Sedona, as well as more places in Flagstaff and Prescott, she said.
They also are working on increasing the varieties of cider they have available, Tierney said. Right now, Stoic Cider has six flavors available, and they have grafted several hundred apple trees over the spring and planted about 250 wild apple seedlings.
“Different types of apples will have different flavors in the cider,” she said. “Also, we can control sweetness levels so we can have a totally dry cider; there’s no sugar at all. All of the yeast has fermented all of the sugar, turned it into alcohol and it’s just dry and tart.”
Grafting apple trees is the only way to get an apple of the same variety as its parent, Tierney said. Planting a Fuji apple seed will produce some wild crabapple thing that may or may not have any resemblance to its parent, she added. Instead, it takes cutting off one branch of the existing tree, taking that snippet and making two exact cuts, putting one on a branch and one on the root system and splicing them together. The nutrients flow up from the roots and flow through the branch to produce a whole new apple tree.
As an example, all Honeycrisp apples are a clone, taken off the original Honeycrisp tree, Tierney said, adding that some of the apples on Stoic Cider’s farm have origins from a different century.
“We have apples on this farm from the 1700s in France that some apple grower has said, ‘This is an apple worth keeping around,’ ” Tierney said. “They’ll graft it into their collection, their neighbor will taste it and like it so they’ll graft it into their orchard.”
Eventually, someone brought a graft over to the United States and now the USDA has collections of the trees along with private growers, she said.
One of Stoic Cider’s orchards is a mix of different apples that Kanin called an experimental orchard. A lot of the trees in the orchard were grafted in 2015, and they have five to seven years until they start producing, he said. Since they were grafted that long ago, some of them have already bloomed even though the company just put them in.
“My guess is not this year, next year we’ll have a few apples, the next year we’ll have a few more and then three years from now we should be getting some pretty good production out of here,” he said.
For more information about Stoic Cider, visit www.stoiccider.com.