Made in the Northwest: Summit Cider
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — Cider companies are opening across the Pacific Northwest all the time.
“Washington is the number one apple producer,” says Summit Cider owner and co-founder Davon Sjostrom. “So why not start making cider in the Northwest?”
Summit cider got its start because Sjostrom has some issues with gluten.
“I used to be a beer drinker and just 4-5 years ago, had to just quit cold turkey.”
And in looking for an alternative to beer, he starting making cider at home.
“Made some really terrible cider for about a year and a half and almost killed off a few of my friends,” laughs Sjostrom. “But it got better and better over the years.”
So much better that it blossomed into a business. Most of Summit Ciders’ names, like Corduroy and Yard Sale, have something to do with skiing. It’s part of creating an active lifestyle brand. Even its logo is a double black diamond, the symbol used to designate ski trails for only the most advanced users.
“I’m a skiier. I’m up there at Schweitzer 50 times a year. And we just thought it was a great, a great brand. A great way to name a product people can relate to.”
Corduroy is the original recipe cider the company was founded on.
“It’s just straight apple. No flavors. Very light in sugar,” explains Sjostrom.
It’s Uncrushable Apricot is simply apricots soaked in Corduroy.
“It allows the apple flavor to still be there and not taste like just an apricot cider.”
Sjostrom says the cider making process is just like making white wine, that is until it’s time for filtration, at which point it becomes more like beer making.
“We filter it into a pressure tank, called a bright tank, and then we carbonate it at that point. And then it’s finished cider.”
Summit produces about 2,500-3,000 gallons of cider a month. And because cider is still a seasonal drink, most of that production is in the winter, as they gear up for the busy summer months.
“Starting in January, those tanks will be full and we’ll be cranking out batches, bottling, canning consistently until the end of the summer.”
In August 2017, Summit Cider closed down its taproom in Coeur d’Alene and worked out a partnership with Post Falls Brewing Company, which has been carrying its cider ever since.”
“They have four of our ciders, four taps, seven days a week,” says Sjostrom. “It just worked out for people to go fill up growlers and try the ciders.”
Sjostrom says sales have doubled every year so far. This spring, he planted his own cider apples for the first time. And he’s excited for the day they finally bear fruit.
“And then we can produce single varietals and some specialty type items.”
And then, Summit Cider may truly reach its peak.
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