Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the opening of Angry Orchard Cider Company's new Innovation Cider House, home to a small-batch cidery, tasting room, and hard cider research-and-development center. The cider house is located on Angry Orchard’s 60-acre apple orchard in the village of Walden, Orange County.
"With hundreds of orchards growing amazing apples, it is not surprising that cideries are booming all across this state," Governor Cuomo said. "We welcome Angry Orchard to the Hudson Valley and wish them well as they join the extremely successful community of brewers, wine makers, distillers and cider producers that are creating world class products right here in New York."
Angry Orchard has agreed invest $9.1 million in the Innovation Cider House and will employ at least seven full-time employees through 2018. The facility has also been awarded a $175,000 Empire State Development capital grant to cover the costs of the cidery's machinery and equipment. The orchard's previous owner, the Crist Family, will continue to cultivate the orchard and retain all jobs associated with caring for and harvesting the land. The family had owned the property since 1963.
The facility will be home to cider research and development for the cider maker, including small batch experimentation with different ingredients, apple varieties, recipes and processes. At the orchard, visitors can learn about cider as well as try samples of exclusive, handcrafted Angry Orchard ciders. Ciders developed at the orchard may eventually become part of the Angry Orchard family of ciders available nationwide.
Angry Orchard Cider Maker Ryan Burk said, "After months of building, picking apples and making research plans, we’re thrilled to be opening the doors to the Innovation Cider House at our orchard in Walden. The community has been so enthusiastic and cooperative in helping us establish roots in the region and we look forward to celebrating our opening with everyone over a cider."
First launched in 2012, Angry Orchard is the number-one selling hard cider in the US, where cider consumption has nearly quintupled since 2010.
There are an estimated total of 51 operating cideries in New York State: 16 farm cideries, 19 cider producers, and 16 farm wineries that also make cider. New York State is the second highest producer of apples in the country, with an estimated 1.26 billion pounds harvested last year, and home to 40,000 acres of apple orchards, where growers produced an average of 31,500 pounds of apples per acre. Last year's crop totaled $289 million, a 22 percent increase from 2013.
The industry's success has been the result of Governor Cuomo's commitment to growing this sector of the economy. In October 2012, Governor Cuomo hosted New York's first Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit where he brought together dozens of beer, wine, cider, and spirits producers, as well as farmers, industry officials, and tourism experts. The objectives were to find ways that New York State can continue to cut red tape, increase demand for locally grown farm products, and expand industry-related tourism and economic development. Since that time, continued growth and support have brought the beverage industry an enormous amount of success.
Senator Bill Larkin said, "The greater Walden community is thrilled to be the home of Angry Orchard's new Innovation Cider House. This project will shine a national spotlight on Walden and the Hudson Valley."
Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said, "Angry Orchard is a great, positive project for Orange County. It preserves the orchard, which is a beautiful thing to have in our community. Angry Orchard is a perfect fit for the growing agricultural market in the region. It’s no wonder that this project has been so well received by the community."
Town of Montgomery Supervisor Michael Hayes said, "We're very happy that Angry Orchard came to the Town of Montgomery and located in an apple orchard that had been slated to be developed into housing. It’s a great addition to the town of Montgomery, Orange County, and the entire state."
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The beverage industry is rapidly growing and creating jobs in New York State, with a proliferation of breweries, wineries, distilleries, and cideries, from Buffalo to Long Island. With a wide variety of apples and workforce talent, New York is the perfect place for Angry Orchard to experiment with new types of hard cider."
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "We're pleased to help celebrate the opening of Angry Orchard's R&D facility and tasting room, which really shines the spotlight on New York as leader in the agriculture and craft beverage industry. We are the second largest producer of apples in the country and grow more varieties than any other state, providing great opportunity for our unique beverage producers. We applaud Angry Orchard's partnership with the Crist family, which has a long history of apple growing in the region, and the company's commitment to the continued production of some of the region's highest-quality apples to diversify and distinguish its ciders."
State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley said, "From the outset, Governor Cuomo instilled an attitude throughout state government that by partnering with the industry, we can create a better business climate by removing regulatory and legislative obstacles impeding growth, encouraging both large manufacturers and new entrepreneurs to open and expand. Today's opening of Angry Orchard's cider house and research center is testament to this approach and a win for the State, as another major producer joins the growing ranks of New York's craft cider makers, creating jobs and economic development in the process.”
The orchard will be open for visitors for a few weekends this fall and again in the spring. Visitors can find more information at www.angryorchard.com/theorchard. All ages may attend, but you must be 21 or over to sample.
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