WALLINGFORD — This fall New England Cider Co. is again serving its popular pumpkin hard cider.
“The pumpkin sells out the minute it's on the shelf basically,” owner Miguel Galarraga said. “It's sold out several times already.”
Galarraga said this year they’re selling at least twice as much pumpkin cider as last year, largely due to the widespread support from customers, breweries and package stores.
The New England Cider Co., 110 North Plains Industrial Road, has been making pumpkin cider for about four years. Galarraga said they start with their base cider, add fresh juice for sweetness and then blend it with pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice.
“People like pumpkins, they're fun. There's something about it, even just tasting it, it reminds you of being out at a farm, the natural aromas, and stuff,” Galarraga said.
The pumpkin cider was available earlier this year, with the first batch out in mid-August. It will be available at least through Thanksgiving.
Since May, cider can be purchased in cans. Galarraga said it was something they planned to do but the coronavirus made it a priority.
When the coronavirus hit in March, Galarraga said the tasting room closed briefly but they stayed open for take-out orders in growlers. Almost a week later they had an online ordering system.
“It picked up almost immediately,” he said about business. “It's been crazy, it's been really really crazy.”
Next month the company plans to offer cranberry cider again. Spiced cider will be available in December.
This fall customers can also expect the fuchsia-colored beet cider to return, made with beets from Muddy Roots Farm in Wallingford.
“Everyone was really skeptical about (it) last year, myself included,” Galarraga said. “It looks artificial, the color of it, but it’s all fresh beets … it tastes really good actually.”
Muddy Roots Farm co-owner Kirsten Marra said because beets are high in sugar content, they turn into alcohol easily.
“It ended up being amazing,” she said. “The color is just stunning.”
The collaboration came together through friendship and an idea for a new cider. This year the farm made a row and a half of beets just for the cider company.
The New England Cider Company is still planning to expand but is modifying previous plans. They still plan to extend parking to the back of the building, and to use more of the building to grow both the tasting room and manufacturing space, with a focus on manufacturing.