Colorado Cider Scene is Ripe with Innovation, Experimentation (Thirst CO)

Kristen Richard
February 22, 2024
Clear Fork Cider

The year is 1860. Thousands of miners are pouring into Colorado each week, perhaps pausing on arrival after an arduous journey to look out upon the Rocky Mountains. But these miners aren’t here for the scenery. Instead, they are hoping to get lucky, find gold, and strike it rich. But whether or not they found gold doesn’t change the fact that this large influx of people forever changed Colorado’s landscape, history and industry. Especially when it came to one small thing many of them packed on their journey west: apple seeds. 

Carrying apple seeds would spawn an entire industry, according to “American Cider, a Modern Guide to a Historic Beverage,” by Dan Pucci and Craig Cavallo. For instance, a man named Jesse Frazier, who arrived in the late 1800s, planted 130 apple varieties. Later, in the 1880s, William Pabor (who would later found the town of Fruita) became one of the first people to plant apple trees in the Grand Junction and Grand Valley area, helping spawn the region’s agricultural industry. 

But with unpredictable weather, harsh terrain, pesky moths and a myriad other factors, orchard owners soon discovered farming in the Rockies was difficult at best. Apple orchards and cider somewhat fell to the wayside.

Stem Cider

However, in 1989, Brad Page, a craft beer brewer who always had an interest in cider, opened Coopersmith’s Pub & Brewing in Fort Collins, where he offered a cider on tap.

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