There is a new cider brand in town and it plans to shake up the quality of other canned ciders. Blackfin Hard Cider is a new brand with roots in Oregon and Washington as a collaboration between Grizzly Ciderworks of Washington and Blue Mountain Cider Co. of Oregon. The product is a little different in that it does not use concentrates or juices like some cideries, but all fresh-pressed apples from Oregon.
Blackfin Hard Cider boasts:
The five apple blend also includes multiple specialty varieties. This is rare for cider in a can.
“We’re fortunate to have access to over 2,000 acres of apples right off the tree. Since we can use our own fruit and produce cider just a few blocks from the orchards, our team is able to provide a significantly higher quality product in the price range expected of a can.”
– Andrew Brown, Head Cidermaker
The Brown Family has been growing apples in the Walla Walla Valley for over 40 years. Now operated by members of the second and third generations, the Browns have been producing Blue Mountain Cider since 2002. Not including the 600 acres of neighboring properties which they pick and pack for, the Browns are already the largest apple grower in the state of Oregon, producing over 65,000 bins each year, largely sold to grocery stores around the Northwest. When it comes to their cider, the family uses only the best fruit and spares no expense to provide top quality product in each bottle.
“There’s an expectation in beer as well as cider that product in a can is going to be cheap. Though this image is changing, there is a price ceiling for aluminum packaging at this point in time. Our ability to produce cider with estate-grown fruit and the joint purchasing power for other ingredients allow us to make a higher quality product while maintaining the competitive price.”
– Andy Petek, Blackfin Founder
Blackfin creator, Andy Petek, got started in the cider business in 2013 when he opened Grizzly Ciderworks with co-founder Corey Haugen in Woodinville, Washington. The pair developed Grizzly by working nights and weekends while maintaining full-time jobs. Like many startups, what began in a garage quickly grew to a bigger space with more equipment. The duo grew their brand by conducting a one-year test market of draft-only ciders throughout the Puget Sound.
After the ciders excelled in the test year, Grizzly quickly outgrew its Woodinville space and equipment capabilities. An opportunity arose to re-locate to the Walla Walla Valley and move into the facility of Blue Mountain. A unique partnership was born. Grizzly gained access to Blue Mountain’s production and logistical resources. In exchange, Blue Mountain got access to Grizzly’s marketing and sales resources. With Andy’s background in beverage distribution, he took over as Director of Sales and Marketing for both brands, a joint portfolio which they now refer to as Apple Beverage Alliance.
Together with Blue Mountain’s National Sales Manager, Eric Brown, Andy now leads portfolio sales in more than 15 states. With Grizzly focused on dry-styled ciders blended with spices and hops and Blue Mountain’s main focus on specialty single varieties, Blackfin’s sweeter profile and fruit-blended lineup is the next step in the ultimate cider portfolio from the Northwest.