There are now more than 120 cider producers in New York; here's what to look for at your next tasting. The newest location on this list, Riverhead Ciderhouse, opened on East Long Island in March and is equal parts a cider mill, tasting room and 300-person music venue housed in a former warehouse. Although they don't have their own vegetable garden, they buy apple juice upstate and then produce cider and bottle it on site. In addition to having its three ciders on offer, its 48 taps behind the bar celebrate all kinds of spirits that are made in New York.
Locally, one of the most popular cider houses is 1911 in LaFayette. The head of cider house, Yann Fay, who has worked in this position for eight years, said that in New York there are approximately 130 cider houses when 25 years ago there were only four or five. She told me that many of the cider houses in Finger Lakes, at the time, were opting for the farm winery license, as it gave them more freedom and flexibility. And, like the booming beer industry across the state, there are large cider houses with multi-state distribution and smaller ones that cater to a strictly local market.
Keep in mind that many of these cider houses also have other things to do, such as orchards, breweries, distilleries, or ongoing events. Some cider houses also have their own on-site tasting rooms, but it's best to call or check their websites for locations and times. I think the updates to the legislation last session addressed some of those concerns, but I suppose most of the established cider houses are not going to change their licenses at this time. The hard cider industry in New York continues to boom: there are now 24 agricultural cider houses across the state, according to the Cuomo administrator.
Like many of the cider houses on this list, Indian Ladder Farms has a 100-year history as an apple orchard.