I Recently spoke to Jeffery House from The California Cider Company, producer of Ace Cider. I wanted to get an idea what the early cider days were like in Western Sonoma county, California. The California Cider Company was producing Ace Ciders when Santa Rosa had no cider. So, after 15 years there was bound to be changes through the years.
Jeffery House was born in Kingston -upon- Thames, on the outskirts of London and grew up in Surrey. House left UK in 1977 after spending 5 years working as an account executive for American advertising agencies in London.
I asked Jeffery to shed some light on the cider market of his home country. House stated, “The British cider market started to boom in the seventies and by the eighties, with cider taxes being lowered, the number one package for drinkers was a cider not a beer.”
Jeffery chose Sebastopol, CA for a good reason. With over 3,000 acres of Gravenstein apple orchards, the beautiful landscape reminded Jeffery of West Country, England. In the present days, the landscape looks sadly a bit different, with only 617 acres. Once, a Gravenstein apple capital, it’s now the home to over 58,000 acres of wine grapes, primarily the Russian River Pinot Noir.
After five years of importing Fullers and Ruddles beer, Thames America Trading Company started importing Blackthorn cider to the US. Blackthorn became the biggest draft cider handle on the west coast before Miller Brewing acquired it in 1995.
Around the mid 90s, craft beer was growing quite rapidly, especially on the west coast. Instead of competing against the breweries, House decided to develop the first Ace Cider. A pretty smart move if I must say so. The California Cider Company is the largest family owned cider in the U.S.
For The Review – Ace Hard Apple Cider
Ace Hard Apple pours a light yellow gold, typical of many ciders. The carbonation was quiet.
After reading about Ace, I was expecting a simple clean non sticky cider.
The aroma is clean with light apple and apple peel peeking through.
This is where new cider drinkers and wine lovers will be surprised. Those first timers who expect a sweet sticky apple fizzy drink will be pleasantly surprised.
Flavor, burst with juicy fruit, light apple and white grapes. The middle carries more fruit with acidic tartness and balances the sweetness perfectly. Ace Hard Apple finished long and dry with low tannins. This is one of the cleanest ciders I have ever had. Ace was refreshing and food friendly. The carbonation was just right, a bit softer than some.
My Over All Impression
There is an over used term for beer geeks called quaffable or drinkable and that is exactly what Ace Hard Apple is, quaffable and refreshing. Oh and for those who think hard cider is an autumn thing, forget it. This is an all year round libation.