If you want to find craft cider in Virginia, all you have to do is follow the trail of the apples. For generations, the commonwealth’s orchards have been scattered along the peaks and valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains range, which extends from the northern tip of the state all the way to the North Carolina border. The region’s climate, soil and sunshine have helped apples thrive here for hundreds of years—so much so that the mountains were known as the “Apple Belt” in the early 1900s. And Virginia’s growing crop of cidermakers has taken notice.
Back when they were brewing beer in their Princeton dorm kitchen, Tim Edmond and Dan Potter couldn’t imagine transitioning into the world of cider. “I had never tried craft cider before, and I wasn’t interested in the category,” Edmond says.
Most serious cider fans already know that the drink played a major role in early American history. Without regular access to potable water and vital nutrients, colonists relied on cider to help them get through dry times. But did the cider they sipped hundreds of years ago have any semblance to the cider we enjoy today?