As promised, more on cider in this post.
Our friends run ANXO, DC’s first post-prohibition cidery. This is an important distinction as it seems cideries existed in DC before prohibition, and even during prohibition.
The following link and snippet comes from an October 1st 1919 Evening Star article, which has turned out to be a treasure trove of DC history in regards to many things (never underestimate how racist America was until you browse century and nearly-century-old dailies).
The author states that the stand on Pennsylvania Avenue has been operating since 1884 and nothing but cider “passes over this bar.”
The variety Hughes Virginia crabapple is “the most wonderful cider apple in the world.” Winesap is also mentioned as desirable and indeed winesap and hughes crab are still prized by cider makers today.
If you don’t feel so inclined as to go to the original scan, here are some key points from the source:
“The cider market is being bulled…This sudden increased demand for cider may, or may not, be connected with the fact that the Senate has excluded non-intoxicating cider and wine from the long list of beverages banned…The back part of the establishment is a factory where fifty barrels of cider per day are turned out by steam power presses…Cider, made properly from this little red apple with the black spots has a peculiarly delicate flavor, and has the further peculiarity that it will develop 10 per cent of alcohol without a trace of acid. Of course, it need not be developed to that extent.”
The 50 barrels a day part is intriguing. Certainly the presses couldn’t have run continuously for a year. If they somehow did run every day for a year that would be an annual production of 18,250 barrels!
Peter and I are currently working on a book that details cider making in Washington, D.C. and the capital region. Is this the first cidery in DC? We certainly don’t think so but it’s been great fun to pull this thread. Details will come on further historical cideries as we conduct more research.