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Idaho cider industry grows with the state

Posted at 5:31 PM, Oct 03, 2023

CALDWELL, Idaho — The rapid expansion of Idaho has led to growth across all kinds of industries in the region.

One area that has seen a boost is alcoholic beverages. Drinks like beer, wine, and more recently cider have become more prominent in part because of the gem state's agricultural landscape.

"When I got here in 2008 there was 32 wineries and now there's over 75. Five years ago, there was one cidery and now there's almost nine. I mean it's pretty amazing to see this amount of growth," said Moya Dolsby, executive director for the Idaho Wine Commission.

Cider production in the region was heavily stunted by prohibition. During the early 1900s laws against alcohol led to a majority of cider apple trees being pulled out because of their low value, but now the crop is starting to be re-established in Idaho.

"The Pacific Northwest is building their cider apple industry in the growing but it's still pretty small," said Clay Eskrine, owner of Peaceful Belly Farms.

Eskrine started brewing cider as a hobby and it grew to a micro cider mill producing Stack Rock cider. He credits Idaho's fertile land and environment for being able to grow cider apples.

Idaho's prominent agriculture has made it easy for new wineries and cideries to populate the area, and the trend doesn't show signs of stopping.

"People are seeing how good everything is growing here, right? We have an amazing climate. We have the hot days and the cool nights so that balances the sugars and the acids for agriculture. For fruit and that's what we need. It's only going to get better," said Dolsby.

Downtown Boise is hosting its first-ever cider fest on October 7. The event is free to the public and will host a number of Pacific Northwest brands for people to try.