The Badder the Seed, The Drier the Cider
We’re juiced to welcome New York’s Bad Seed Cider Company and its drier than dry cider to our Massachusetts cider portfolio! Bad Seed is the first to put a truly dry, zero sugar cider into a can, and when we first tasted it, we knew we had to have it and bring it to you. At 6.9% ABV, it’s dry, strong, and resembles an apple champagne. Naturally, it has no added back-sweeteners or extra sugar; just a pound of fresh-pressed Hudson Valley apples in every can. 🍎
A Background on Bad Seed
In the summer of 2011, childhood friends Albert Wilklow and Devin Britton decided to take their passion for farming and fermenting full-time. Over the next eight years, Bad Seed’s footprint grew from local farmer’s markets to tap rooms in New York to a distribution footprint that spans seven states. With a cider in hand, we sat down with Bram Kincheloe, Bad Seed co-owner and sales/marketing lead, to ask a few questions about Bad Seed’s roots, cider and taprooms (yes, multiple taprooms!).
Q: What makes Bad Seed Dry Hard Cider different from other cider offerings?
A: Most American ciders have the reputation of being very, very sweet. At Bad Seed, we were the first company to put a truly dry, 0g sugar cider into a can. Fermented with a sauvignon blanc yeast, and fermented to full dryness (actually dry, we aren’t kidding!), our flagship Dry Hard Cider drinks almost more like an apple champagne or apple Prosecco. We grow the apples ourselves on a sixth generation farm here in the Hudson Valley in Highland, NY. There’s almost exactly a full pound of fresh pressed apples in every can, and because we are fermenting to full dryness, all that initial sugar in the pressed apple juice is being converted to alcohol. All that extra fermentation means higher ABV as well, so our Dry Cider clocks in right at 6.9% ABV. We definitely make cider for non-cider drinkers, or people who have shied away from “traditional” American ciders because, let’s face it, they are way too sweet.
Q: Where does Bad Seed draw its inspiration?
A: I mean, every day is an inspiration. I know that is such a corny answer, but being able to wake up, get dressed, make coffee, head out into the world, and…sling some delicious cider? I mean, that’s pretty cool. We are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful regions in the world, in the Hudson Valley, and we are very happy to see people all over the northeast (and beyond) finding their way to our signature dry cider. Also, pizza. Canning days, which can last upwards of 13 hours sometimes, require lots of pizza.
Q: What does a day in the life at Bad Seed look like?
A: It depends on the day. There are three owners, including myself. Albert Wilklow and Devin Britton, two lifelong friends from Highland, NY, founded Bad Seed Cider in 2011. Albert is a sixth generation farmer whose family, as I mentioned, has been on this same land since 1855. Devin had a huge love and affinity for all things that could be fermented, coming initially from the home-brewing world. Before founding Bad Seed, they started making cider just for themselves and for their friends, and people kept saying, “Damn! This is good! When are you guys going to offer this for sale at (fill in the blank, store, bar, etc)?” Eventually they said, “Screw it!” and threw together some meager savings, bought a couple of small (really small) fermentation tanks, and I guess the rest is history. I came on board just doing sales in NYC for about a year or so in 2015 or so, but quickly expanded our distribution into NJ and started overseeing sales in CT as well before becoming a full owner and assuming the mantle of Director of Sales & Marketing in early 2017. So now a day in the life more or less is: Albert oversees the farm, making sure we have ample fruit to keep up with demand. Devin oversees production, fermentation, manages the three tap rooms (two in the Hudson Valley, one in Brooklyn) that we operate, and experiments with small batch offerings. I am either out in the field, visiting accounts, traveling to the different states where we now have distribution (NY, NJ, PA, CT, RI, NH, and now MA), handling social media, answering blog questions (hey!), or whatever else might pop up. We are still a super small (but mighty) company, to the extent that when we are canning (once a week or so, sometimes more), it’s usually just the three of us plus Albert’s awesome wife Kortney Wilklow, who actually came up with the name Bad Seed Cider and who is a deeply integral part of the team as well.
Q: It’s no secret that your tap room (located in the Hudson Valley) is super picturesque. What’s your favorite aspect of the tap room (and surrounding area)? And how can a visitor really take advantage of the whole Bad Seed experience?
A: We have two tap rooms here in the Hudson Valley. Our home cidery is at 43 Baileys Gap Rd. in Highland, NY. We have two full bars with ten ciders on draft, a really fun patio with a fire pit, cornhole, the works. We also just opened our Bad Seed Farm Bar for the pick-your-own apple season, starting this Labor Day weekend and running through the end of October at our home orchard, Wilklow Orchards at 341 Pancake Hollow Rd. in Highland, NY. While the home cidery is fun and impressive in that there are a lot of big shiny fermentation tanks and you can hang on the patio, the Farm Bar is a blast in that you can go apple picking in the orchard, and then walk down the hill with your bag of apples and immediately drink delicious dry cider that was made directly from those exact apples. We built the Farm Bar out of an old shipping container, took a plasma torch and framed out windows and a bar and a small patio. It’s totally unique, and a great way to experience fall in the Hudson Valley. Additionally, if you are in New York City, we have our Bad Seed Brooklyn tap room in Crown Heights. It’s the best way to taste your way through New York’s craft scene, all in a very cozy, welcoming environment down in the city. I guess the ultimate Bad Seed experience would be to hit them all over a long weekend!
Q: Where’s your fave place to enjoy a Bad Seed Dry Hard Cider?
A: Honestly? Probably from the comfort of my couch or my back porch as the sun is setting after getting home from a long day out in the field or after a long day canning.
For more of the day-to-day over in Hudson Valley check out Bad Seed on Insta.
Come be Bad Seed crazy with us and Bram. We’re celebrating Bad Seed’s Massachusetts launch next week with a few pop up events. Find out when and where over on our Insta page.