Rachel Carter, owner of a Charlotte, Vt.-based public relations firm, believes American tastes are changing, at least when it comes to Vermont-made hard ciders. Carter's company, Rachel Carter, PR, represents Middlebury's Green Mountain Beverage, makers of Woodchuck Cider.
The successful cider-making company almost singlehandedly put Vermont-made hard apple cider on the map a few years back. That tasty adult beverage has always been a staple among rock-ribbed New England farmers, but the beautiful people tended shied away from blue-collar apple jack. But that has all changed. Hard cider isn't just for farmers anymore-it is a beverage whose time has finally come.
Just when we're all getting used to delicious hard apple cider, Woodchuck came up with a new product-pumpkin cider. What? Yup.
"Vermont's own Woodchuck Hard Cider presents their first ever Private Reserve Label, also the world's first ever pumpkin hard cider," said Carter. "Woodchuck Private Reserve Pumpkin is a special edition high-end cider with a 6.9 percent alcohol content-compared to Woodchuck's 4 percent and 5 percent for its core and Limited Release styles."
Carter said Woodchuck Private Reserve Pumpkin is a true connoisseur's cider.
"Woodchuck Private Reserve Pumpkin Cider is being shipped to select markets including Boston, Chicago, and of course Vermont. Bottling is taking place now and will ship to wholesalers at the end of September and into October," Carter noted.
According to Bret Williams, president and CEO of Green Mountain Beverage, not only are Woodchuck's apples grown in Vermont, but so are the pumpkins for the company's new Private Reserve Pumpkin Cider
"Regarding the pumpkins being from Vermont: they were grown within 10 miles of the cidery in Bristol. Technically, they were not purchased, they were donated by one of Woodchuck's best employees-George Leggett," Williams said.
According to Williams, the new pumpkin cider is Woodchuck's first style produced under the Private Reserve line of hard ciders.
"This is a very limited run on our bottling line-only two hours-and will only be sent to a handful of markets in the USA," he said.
"It is our belief, and we have looked into it, that this is the first ever pumpkin cider in the world made right here in Middlebury."
Williams said Woodchuck Cider also partners with Champlain Orchards, Sunrise Orchards, Sentinel Pines, and Cold Hollow Cider Mill as part of their commitment to quality and fostering local relationships with Vermont apple companies.
Is pumpkin cider any good? It sure sounds like, according to carter.
"The Woodchuck Private Reserve Pumpkin Cider pairs perfectly with roasted duck, turkey, squash ravioli, cr me brul e, and cheesecake as well as other distinguished dishes noteworthy of the autumn harvest and fall holiday season," she said.
Also this fall, Carter said, Woodchuck Cider will release its Fall Cider Limited Release.
"This features an attractive bouquet of autumn spices starring cinnamon and nutmeg and balancing out the taste with a hint of American white oak," Carter said. "As with all Woodchuck Ciders, Limited Releases, and the brand new Private Reserve Label, both the Woodchuck Fall Cider and Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider are naturally gluten free and handcrafted with techniques similar to those found in the early days of American cider making."
Now I think I'll have that glass of Woodchuck Pumpkin Cider and a very large slice of cheescake. Mmm.