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Homegrown Hard Cider Joins Pennsylvania Products at Farm Show
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 12/05/2017

Judging for the first-ever Pennsylvania Farm Show Cider Competition was held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, pitting 26 entries from licensed Pennsylvania cideries against one another in seven categories of hard cider.

Pennsylvania ranks 6th in the nation in the number of cider producers, and saw $25.6 million in sales in 2016. Consumption in restaurants, in particular, grew throughout 2017. Sales and production received a significant boost from legislation Governor Tom Wolf signed last year, providing new avenues for public sector support of Pennsylvania's wine, craft beer, and distillery industries.

"Pennsylvania apples are a staple of our state's economy, and the popularity of hard cider has surged in recent years," Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. "Governor Wolf and the legislature recognized the potential of popular products like cider for increasing farm revenues, and the need to broaden producers' ability to market their products to meet consumer demand. The growth of cider production demonstrates government that works, by legislating change that benefits producers and gives consumers greater access to Pennsylvania-produced products.

"We now have 43 cideries statewide, up from 15 just two years ago, with existing producers expanding their product lines, and new businesses taking advantage of Pennsylvania's abundant apple orchards to launch new production," added Redding. "This enables us to show off the diversity and quality of yet another Pennsylvania product with a new competition during the 2018 Farm Show."

Judging today's entries were Ron Sansone from Middletown, Ct., Dan Pucci from Brooklyn, N.Y., and Meredith Collins from Ithaca, N.Y. Prizes will be awarded in seven categories:

Modern Cider -- made primarily from culinary or table apples;

Heritage Cider -- made primarily from multi-use or cider-specific bittersweet or bittersharp apples, with wild or crab apples sometimes used for acidity or tannin balance;

Sour Cider -- those produced in Northern Spain (notably Asturias and Basque Country) and other regions in which similar apple varieties and production techniques are used to achieve a profile similar to traditional Spanish ciders;

Fruit Cider -- ciders with other fruits or juices, such as berry, added;

Hopped Cider -- ciders with added hops;

Spiced Cider -- ciders made with a combination of added spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice; and

Wood Aged Cider - barrel-fermented or barrel-aged ciders in which the wood or barrel character is a notable part of the overall flavor profile.

Winning entries will be announced in a ceremony on Jan. 6 during the 2018 Pennsylvania Farm Show, Pennsylvania's State Fair.

The new cider competition joins numerous contests held during the annual Farm Show to highlight the quality and diversity of Pennsylvania products and the hard work, creativity and dedication of the people who create them. Find out more about the 2018 Farm Show at www.farmshow.pa.gov.

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