Thirteen Pacific Northwest cideries recently took home sixteen gold medals in total at the Awards Party for the Northwest Cider Association‘s 6th Annual Portland International Cider Cup (PICC). For first time, a cidery from Saanichton, British Columbia, Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, took home the competition’s highest honor and Cup—the Best of Show Award.
The party unfolded at the Lagunitas Community Room in NE Portland and drew in over 100 cidermakers and industry friends, who celebrated ciders crafted in the Pacific Northwest—the largest cider market in the United States for consumption and home to a quarter of the country’s cidermakers. The competition itself was hosted at Square Mile Cider on March 25 and was so popular that it increased exponentially this year, growing to almost 170 ciders from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The event featured 60 experienced industry judges from across the nation.
Within the 19 categories sampled, judges found ciders in sixteen categories worthy of gold medals:
- Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, British Columbia: Bittersweet (English Sweet), Best of Show
- 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Oregon: Brightcider (Modern Dry)
- 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Oregon: Nice & Naughty (Spiced/Herbed Cider)
- 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Oregon: Traditions 2015 La Mure (Wild/Non-Sac)
- 2 Towns Ciderhouse, Oregon: Traditions 2016 Cidre Bouche (French)
- Bauman’s Cider, Oregon: Clyde’s Dry (Heritage Dry)
- Cider Riot!, Oregon: Shaken Tree (English Dry)
- Dragon’s Head Cider, Washington: Perry (Traditional Perry)
- Draper Girls Cider Co., Oregon: Aronia Berry (Fruit Cider – Other)
- Elkhorn Brewery, Oregon: Very Perry (Modern Perry)
- Liberty Ciderworks, Washington: Manchurian Crab Single Varietal (Specialty)
- Montana CiderWorks, Montana: Darby Pub Cider (Heritage Sweet)
- Portland Cider Company, Oregon: Sorta Sweet (Modern Sweet)
- Rack & Cloth, Oregon: Pêche (Fruit Cider – Stone)
- Square Mile Cider Co., Oregon: Hopped Apple Cider (Hopped)
- Swift Cider, Oregon: Marionberry (Fruit Cider – Cane)
These sixteen ciders went on to compete in the Best of Show round, in which the head judges from each table found the Sea Cider Bittersweet to be the best of the best.
"We are thrilled that Bittersweet has been awarded Best of Show at PICC! Bittersweet reflects our farm: it is 100% estate grown, pressed, fermented and bottled at Sea Cider. Bittersweet is also one of our most traditional ciders. It showcases the earthy, spicy phenolics of the traditional bittersweet and bittersharp apples that we grow," said Kristen Needham, founder of Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse.
Draper Girls Cider Co. (Mt Hood, OR) won the Best New Cidery award, which carried with it a $500 prize. Awards were given to Montana CiderWorks (Darby, MT), Swift Cider (Portland, OR) and 2 Towns Ciderhouse (Corvallis, OR), respectively, as Small, Medium and Large Cideries of the year. Montana CiderWorks was also the runner up for the cup for the second year in a row! The full list of medalists and past cup winners can be viewed on the Northwest Cider Association website.
“Our Northwest cidermakers make such a wide range of flavorful ciders, innovating from what our ancestors used to make in America's early days. Next time you’re in the grocery store, try one of the medalists,” says Emily Ritchie, executive director of the Northwest Cider Association.
Congratulations to all of the winners!