This Is Where All The Apples For Angry Orchard Cider Really Come From - Exclusive

Strolling the beverage aisle in the grocery store, there's a huge variety of beer and wine choices, along with an incredible number of hard seltzer options popping up. Amongst the convenience drink category is also a growing selection of hard ciders — offering something refreshingly sippable for everyone.

But one of the biggest misconceptions about hard cider is that it's made just like beer. Though you can find it on a tap list and it's often bottled just like a brew, the process of fermenting apples for cider is closer to that of wine, per STL Today. Yes, it's actually made with fruit.

To learn more about what kind of apples are used to make hard cider and the process behind the delicious drink, we went straight to the source. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, head cidermaker for Angry Orchard Ryan Burk dished on where exactly all of the apples that go into Angry Orchard Hard Cider are sourced from.

The best sources for cider apples

According to cidermaker Ryan Burk, Angry Orchard utilizes apple varieties specifically picked for cider production. "They don't look pretty. They aren't for the grocery store," Burk explained. The majority of the apples come from the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, specifically the Yakima Valley area of Washington. In addition, the company also sources cider apples from Normandy and Brittany in France, as well as the Alto Adige region of Italy. These are tannic, traditional cider apple varieties that are pressed and made into hard cider.

But because making new, delicious ciders is all about experimenting with fruit, unique apple varieties are continuously sourced from a variety of locales. Northern Spy cider apples, which Burk said they use a lot of for making Angry Orchard ciders, are sourced up along the coast of Lake Ontario. There, the climate allows the apples to hang on the tree a bit longer, making for highly developed sugar content. "What's also special is a lot of the varieties that are grown up there used to be grown for the juice industry," Burk explained. Now, these high acid apples, which have gone out of fashion for eating, are put to good use.

If Burk is looking to stretch his creativity, he might even ship a variety from across the country, like he has done with fruit from E.Z. Orchard in Oregon to allow him to make ciders with hard-to-find apples such as unique French varieties.

Angry Orchard even grows some of the fruit that goes into its ciders

Being that Angry Orchard is the leading cider company in the U.S. in sales (via Statista), it definitely needs a lot of apples. And while the majority of the apples are sourced from growers the cidery has developed great relationships with, Angry Orchard also has a 60-acre orchard of its own. The cidery in Walden, New York offers orchard walks and special cider tastings — some of which are available exclusively on-site, per Angry Orchard.

According to Burk, the orchard mainly produces high tannic, bittersweet, and bittersharp apples. "We consume all the fruit on this orchard," Burk said. And while the cider apples are mainly used for smaller production ciders, some of them are fermented for the nationally produced ciders as well. Apples grown on the estate orchard property make their way into the flagship Crisp Apple cider, the brand's best-seller. That means the hard cider you know and love actually features a combination of homegrown fruit and fruit from growers within the U.S. and around the world.

Check out Angry Orchard's website for a complete list of its ciders and look out for new releases.