Saturday, March 19, 2022

History of apple cider in America

Cider have been produced for more than 2000 years in temperate areas of the world. In Greek and Roman literature (about 900 BC) there is a wide reference in terms of obtaining fermented beverages from apples, and other fruits. Many fermented drinks known since antiquity have been obtained from apples and pears.

The first recorded references to cider date back to Roman times; in 55 BCE Julius Caesar found the Celtic Britons fermenting cider from native crabapples. The people of northern Spain were making sidra before the birth of Christ.

During colonial era, hard apple cider was by far the most popular alcoholic beverage in America far more than whiskey, wine or beer. Only 9 years after first landing at Plymouth in 1620, European colonists planted apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Hard cider became the traditional drink of New England not long after the first settlers arrived.

Ciders were widely enjoyed in early American society. Apple trees grew extremely well in New England, and the art of cider making was readily adapted. Early society struggled to expand their apple orchards, needing more bees and bodies to spread the wealth. Those early colonists identified the issue and brought over swarms of bees to enact the level of pollination needed for thriving orchards.

Apple cider continued in its popularity into the 1800s due in part to the efforts of the legendary Johnny Appleseed who planted many apple trees in the Midwest. As a result, apple cider brewing spread into that area of the country.

By the time of the American Revolution, cider consumption per capita was as high as 40 gallons. Two important factors affected the popularity of hard cider: the mass production of beer during the American industrial revolution and prohibition.

Cider's popularity continued through the 18th and early 19th centuries. In a time where water often contained dangerous bacteria, the alcohol in cider made it a preferable and more sanitary beverage for consumption.

In the 19th century, cider makers began adding rum to cider, making it considerably more intoxicating, resulting in social problems arising from its abuse. Early temperance societies focused on cideries, bringing social pressure for their prohibition. By then cider began its decline from the most popular beverage in the nation.

On January 16, 1919, the United States ratified the 18th amendment, and the prohibition of alcohol in the United States took effect one year later. The production of cider became illegal, and even fresh apple juice production was severely limited. Over the next several decades, the once proud American tradition of cider making was kept alive by only a few local farmers and enthusiasts.
History of apple cider in America

Top articles all the time

Vegetable Juice

Softdrinks and Beverage