Blackfin Hard Cider Launches Fresh Estate-Grown Cider in Cans

Blackfin Hard Cider cans

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:

• Estate-grown fruit
• Sustainably certified orchards • No apple concentrate
• Fresh pressed juice
• Specialty apple varieties

Utilizing fruit from Blue Mountain’s 1,400 acre family farm in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, the apples used to create Blackfin are fresh-pressed within sight of the orchards from which they were grown.

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 Hard Cider logo

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.

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com

Discussion

  • Tyler Hurst
    Tyler Hurst
    Wed Nov 4, 2015 4:50 PM

    “The product is a little different in that it does not use concentrates like most cideries but all fresh-pressed apples from Oregon.”

    Are you sure that nearly every cidery in WA/OR DOESN’T use fresh-pressed juice, not concentrate, in their products? Or are you comparing them to Angry Orchard types?

    • Samurai Artist
      Samurai Artist
      Wed Nov 4, 2015 9:18 PM

      I suppose I should edit that not “most” cideries are not using fresh pressed but I know many that are not. I think Blackfin also stands out more in being a higher quality in the canned cider category.

      • Tyler Hurst
        Tyler Hurst
        Wed Nov 4, 2015 9:22 PM

        True, most cideries are definitely not using fresh-pressed juice, they’re buying someone else’s.

        It just sounded like you were saying many of them are using concentrate, which isn’t true.

        Anyway, good write up on these cans, I want to try soon.