Graft Cidery is known for their unique and adventurous sour hard ciders that combine the old-world style of cider making with modern brewing techniques. In honor of Women’s History Month, we bring you the women behind Graft who are helping to pioneer innovation in cider: Sara Sherrer, Owner/Sales Director, and Sae Kenney, Media Director.
CC: Tell us how Graft first came into your lives. Were you always lovers of cider?
Sara Sherrer: I am an Owner of Graft Cider alongside my brother, Kyle Sherrer. I have been involved in cider for the past decade and have always loved the high-tannin ciders coming from England and France.
Sae Kenny: I have been with Graft since the beginning. Graft started in my and Kyle’s apartment in Baltimore, Maryland. When Graft was in its infancy, I still had another job, and sometimes I would come home… Sara and Kyle would be pouring sticky liquid into carboys, pitching yeast, adding ingredients, and making an innovative mess. The rest is history! I always liked cider, but I was never satisfied with my options. I felt that the available cider was either too sweet or it lacked depth.
CC: Green Is Gold, Graft’s newest seasonal cider, is incredible (we love its G&T vibes!). What inspired the flavor combination? Will your partnership with One Tree Planted continue?
SS: We have been inspired by recreating cocktails with an apple base. Green Is Gold is our interpretation of a crisp winter cider cocktail. We felt Gin & Tonic inspired botanicals and herbs layered with apples and honey would be a fun homage to the brumal weather. We do hope this partnership continues and grows in following years.
SK: Absolutely! I hope that once it’s safe to gather in groups again, we can host co-tree planting events.
CC: What’s on the horizon for Graft in 2021? We are pumped to sip cider al fresco once the weather turns!
SS: We have plans to move into our new home, a 16,000sq. ft. production space/taproom this fall, and we cannot wait to open our doors safely to the public!
SK: We have been saying that we will open a taproom for years, but we’re really doing it this year. We just purchased a mammoth wood fire pizza oven for the taproom, so there’s no messing around. We are doing this.
CC: Speaking of patio season, where will we find you enjoying Graft in New England this summer?
SS: At my first availability, I’ll be making my way out to High Spirits Liquors in Rhode Island. I’ll grab a 4-pack of Salt & Sand and head to the beach!
CC: It’s Women’s History Month. We’ve seen the number of females in the business of beer and cider continue to grow in what is historically a predominantly male industry. Why do you think this is?
SS: I think women are an integral part of fermentation culture. I think we are looking at these old institutions with new eyes. I think diversity is what’s needed to keep the craft segment fresh and current. Women and BIPOCs bring a new perspective to the Beer/Cider category and connect with a segment of the population that has never seen themselves in the Brewing Industry. Our inclusion allows space for others to enjoy this world through branding and flavors made for a larger, more inclusive drinking experience. My hope is, as women and BIPOCs take center stage, young women of all colors will see themselves represented in this community and know that there is a future for them in brewing.
SK: Oh geez, I think that there are a myriad of reasons why we are seeing an influx of women in predominantly male industries across the board. Some of those factors are that younger people are replacing an aging workforce with different values than their predecessors. Not only has the makeup of the industry changed, so are the labels wrapped around beer cans. There have been subtle shifts in attitude as to what is acceptable industry-wide. Numerous breweries have been called out due to their over-sexualization of women on their labels. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the slow removal of these images speaks volumes. I think social media, for good or bad, has connected people in ways that are unprecedented. Social media has allowed people who are “different” or are “outliers” – such as women homebrewers – to connect, ask questions, and further their knowledge base in a safe and supportive community, leading women to apply for jobs they might not have felt comfortable or confident in.
CC: How do you see Graft continuing to be at the forefront?
SS: Backpack Brands and Graft have always prioritized innovation and exploration within craft cider. I believe fresh ideas, streamlined thinking, and a focus on community are at the forefront of these ideals. Women have always been the glue and connectors within communities, my experience at Graft Cider included.
SK: Here at Graft, we are interested in working with competent, enthusiastic people who thirst for knowledge and great liquid. We don’t care how you identify; as long as you’re qualified for the job, have a strong work ethic, and are positive and upbeat, we welcome you. Sex nor gender limits our ability to move up in the company, nor does it restrict the scope of work we do. Equal pay for equal work. No exceptions.
The Graft Goods
Graft’s lineup is hallmarked by their four unique flagship ciders: Farm Flor, Lost Tropic, Field Day, and Birds of Paradise. These year-round favorites are joined by seasonals from Graft’s Green Planet Cider Series, which donates 10% of profits to non-profit agencies that protect and restore the earth and its inhabitants. But that’s not all – for those seeking even more adventure, Graft’s Book of Nomad rotational series is full of ciders that push conventional boundaries, resulting in one-off cider styles that are unmistakably Graft.
Check Graft’s availability in your market by clicking on one of the links below: