This soon-to-be-not-so-small cidery has met with nothing but success since opening in August 2013; so much success, in fact, that sales have quadrupled and the company has outgrown its tasting room, which closed in mid-October but will reopen at a larger, TBD location in town.
Riding the wave of the artisan cider boom, Stowe Cider’s hallmark is traditionally produced dry and semidry beverages, some unfiltered, some unflavored, and some seasoned with ginger, jalapeno or other spices and fruits (strawberries and lime, or raspberry in summer, for example).
Housed on “Pucker Lane” in the former Snow’s General Store, the cidery is owned by Stefan and Mary Windler, who came to Vermont from Hawaii, where Mary worked in restaurants and Stefan worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Family friend and cider-maker Marc Chretien of Mt. Defiance Cidery and Distillery in Middleburg, Va. (fun fact: he was former aide to Generals David Petraeus and John Allen), advised the couple. With the aid of head cidermaker Mark Ray, they began offering ciders made with Vermont fresh sweet cider (purchased around the state) and a pledge to “#FreeTheCider” of sweeteners and over-processing.
They have since branched out to about 10 offerings in any given season, some on draft, some canned, some bottled. (“General’s Reserve” is a nod to Chretien.)
A recent sampling of Tip’s Up, on draft, evoked the crisp taste of autumn apples with just a hint of sweetness. Stowe Cider is now sold at state liquor stores, supermarkets and bars and restaurants. The cidery remains open for filling growlers until the new tasting room launches.