Listen closely. There’s a new sound across the hills and hollows coming from Mountain State bars and restaurants. It’s the sound of Swilled Dog Hard Cider pouring from the draft taps.
Swilled Dog is the first WV cidery to offer its product generally in one-sixth barrel kegs, as well as in 750 ml bottles. Located in Franklin, WV, Swilled Dog Hard Cider is a family-owned and operated company that offers modern twists to the age-old traditions of cider. Products from this newest West Virginia cidery are just beginning to hit the market.
The cidery will not have its own tasting room but will depend wholly on WV retailers to sell its products. They are self-distributing at first, with their three targets markets being Morgantown, Parkersburg and Wheeling, and also with some outlets in Franklin. As production grows, they will expand to other markets.
Expected retail pricing for the 750s in bottle shops will be around $13.75 for their flagship ciders and $14.25 for their seasonal ciders.
Launched last week
Parkersburg Brewing introduced Swilled Dog’s Bunny Slope Hopped Cider on draft there last week. Swilled Dog’s first bottled cider went on sale at Great Valu in Franklin, also last week. More accounts, such as Wheeling Brewing Company and the Iron Horse Tavern in Morgantown, are adding the products each day.
“Our first official launch event will take place at Parkersburg Brewing Company on March 4th from 6:00-9:00 P.M,” said Brooke Glover, Swilled Dog’s director of sales and marketing. Expect to find several of their flagships there.
New and old together
Mike Gallaher, Swilled Dog’s head cider-maker, takes pride in blending new cider-making techniques with traditional processes.
“We think that the cider industry has come a long way in bringing new styles to the market,” he stated. “From flavored ciders using hops and other natural flavorings to making more traditional artisanal ciders, we will continue to embrace the trends that move the category forward.”
The majority of the company’s apples and juice are sourced directly from local West Virginia orchards and farmers. According to Gallaher, the cidery is planting its own orchards with cider-specific apple varieties, something we have not yet seen much of in this state.
The product line
The initial product line-up includes Apple Bottom, a semi-dry more traditional cider, Bunny Slope, a hopped cider produced to attract the craft beer crowd, Pumpkin Patch, a cider flavored with real pumpkin and chai tea spices, Caramel Apple, a caramel flavored cider; and West Virginia Scrumpy. Additional brands are already in the pipeline.
Help us make some Scrumpy
Among the first ciders Swilled Dog offers is its 2016 limited edition West Virginia Scrumpy. It’s made of a mixture of apples all donated to the cidery by West Virginia residents.
Barry Glover, one of the family-member owners, tells how it came about.
“It was a lot of knocking on doors,” he explained. “Everyone seemed very excited about the prospect that his or her apples would be used in making a local West Virginia product. Once word got out, we had people calling us to see if we wanted to come look at their apple trees. We couldn’t believe all of the generosity.”
WV Scrumpy, which will only be available at their special launch events, will sell for $14.25 per bottle with all proceeds going to charity.
“We are thrilled to bring our ciders to the marketplace,” said Brad Glover, one of the owners. “This has been something that our family has wanted to do for quite some time.”
The Swilled Dog owners emphasize operating as a socially responsible company that wants to be deeply involved in its community. The owners give not only their time but have also committed to give at least 1% of their annual sales to local communities and charities.
Brooke Glover thinks that West Virginia has a tremendous opportunity to put its mark on the hard cider industry that is experiencing quite a resurgence.
“We have big plans for this brand and look forward to putting our mark on the recovery of the industry across the country,” she said.
Visit the Swilled Dog website.