“Oh my gosh, New York cider!” Dayna Bateman’s earnestness is exactly why she founded Cidrbox, a curated monthly delivery of the country’s best orchard ciders. The company, which is less than a year old, ships boxes of 3, 6 or 12 ciders each month to subscribers. Each box features a “single, distinctive American heritage cidermaker,” from regions including the Pacific Northwest, Vermont, and, of course, New York state. “The hard part is avoiding the Finger Lakes, actually.” Thanks to state investment in beverage-making, New York has a renewed market for their heirloom and traditional ciders.
Bateman explains that the Finger Lakes region is such an integral part of Cidrbox’s business because “it’s emerging as the Napa of cider. There’s something truly remarkable about the area’s terroir.” That isn’t to say other cider-producing regions across the country are anything less than remarkable. What Cidrbox does is find producers growing heirloom or traditional cider apples and making a drink without additives or flavors. The products they locate and ship are traditional well balanced wine-like ciders. Though there aren’t specific flavors, the variety of the ciders the company offers is wide. “We conduct monthly tastings with producers and there’s a variety in what we’re tasting because they’re using premium fruit,” she explains. Unlike ciders on the market with ABV less than 7 percent using lower quality fruit or a frozen concentrate, these freshly pressed apples with a longer fermentation process offer more robust tasting notes and aromatics.
The company’s subscribers are currently those who’ve already “found religion.” Unfortunately, mass-market ciders have tainted the public’s experience with the beverage, making it more difficult to bring them into the fold. To combat this, Cidrbox also hosts pairing dinners and private tastings and sets up shop at the Good Food Festival in Chicago. Until the education spreads, Cidrbox will continue distinguishing their orchard ciders from the mass market with monthly ships from producers like Kite & String and South Hill in New York.