Cider is an exploding industry in New York State; according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, the number of cideries tripled between 2014 and 2016. We counted 76 NYS cideries on the Cider Guide website, and many more are surely in the works.
While we worked on our Ultimate Guide to Cider Marketing (which includes insights from us and industry leaders on web design, branding, and social media marketing), we also wondered: which cider destinations in New York State are driving the most in-person visits and agri-tourism activity? There are many ways to get that answer, but one way in particular is to measure and analyze data from Instagram.
We counted the number of geo-tagged Instagram posts from New York’s 76 wineries, and removed anything that was by the cideries themselves or their owners/managers. The result is the 12 Most-Instagrammed cideries in New York State.
Keep in mind that many of these cideries also have other things going on, like u-pick orchards, breweries, distilleries, or ongoing events.
Onto the list:
1. Wölffer Estate Vineyard, Sagaponack
Photo by @amandaenglander
For nearly 30 years, Wolffer Estate Vineyard has been known as a quintessential and sustainable Hamptons winery, and one of their varietals has been apple wine, made from Bridgehampton apples that they grow on their 55-acre farm. In 2013, the owners took notice of the popularity of hard cider, and decided to become more than just a winery: they created two apple ciders that were “congruent with the mission of our brand:” Dry Rosé and Dry White.
What makes their vineyard so Instagrammable? While many vineyards are beautiful, theirs is said to make visitors “feel like they’ve escaped to Europe for a day.” They make it easy to visit: on Saturdays and Sundays at 5 p.m., they host tasting parties where their wine and cider is paired with charcuterie and cheese, and the grounds are also rented out for weddings and large events.
2. Angry Orchard, Walden
Walden is a historic, former industrial village in the Hudson Valley’s Orange County. I grew up there! In 1997, it had its 15 minutes of fame: Walden’s working class population turned into a punching bag for a local shock jock, back when everybody listened to the radio. Years of jokes about inbreeding, squirrel hunting and messy lawns were blamed for plummeting real estate values and the bullying of schoolkids, to the point where even Frank Bruni from the New York Times wrote about it.
In 2015, the village eagerly began the next chapter in its tale: the one where Walden’s apple orchards are an international cider destination. Angry Orchard opened a home for research and development, calling it an “Innovation Cider House, where they conduct experiments that may make their way back to Angry Orchard’s core business. In 2016, they opened a tasting room in a treehouse, and they offer regular tours every weekend as well as constant events that tie in food and art that are a celebration of all things cider.
3. Three Brothers Wineries and Estates, Geneva
Photo by @jetaime__b
Located in Finger Lakes Wine Country, Three Brothers is kind of the upstate version of Wolffer’s estate vineyard; sibling-owned, originally a winery, with a brand-based approach that has people raving about not only their wine, but their other products and experiences: cider, coffee, a brewery, soda, and a farm-to-table restaurant. It doesn’t hurt that their 35-acre farm has views of Seneca Lake.
Last year, they launched Red Apple Bombshell Hard Cider, which is sold directly online via their website (within NYS only), or on the shelves of Wegmans.
4. Fishkill Farms, Hopewell Junction
Photo by @lellabella82
The Hudson Valley’s Fishkill Farms has been family-owned for over 100 years, and has a holistic, environmentally conscious and local approach to farming that has been lauded in places like Mashable and Modern Farmer. They don’t use any fertilizers are herbicides, run a 300 member CSA, run hayrides and pick-your-own strawberries, peaches, tomatoes and plums, and in 2015, launched Treasury Cider, which is made from apples from their farm. Treasury is named after the farm’s founder, Henry Morgenthau Jr., who served as Secretary of the Treasury under FDR.
On weekends, they offer tours of their cider garden that feature a “tree-to-glass” experience.
5. Riverhead Ciderhouse, Calverton
Photo by @carehansen
The newest location on this list, the Riverhead Ciderhouse opened in Eastern Long Island in March and is equal parts cider mill, tasting room, and 300-seat music venue located in an old warehouse. Although they don’t have their own orchard, they purchase apple juice from upstate, and then produce cider and bottle it on-site. In addition to having their three ciders on offer, their 48 taps behind the bar celebrate all kinds of spirits that are made in New York.
6. Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards, Lafayette
Photo by @forrestjividen
The home of 1911 Spirits, Beak & Skiff was opened in, you guessed it, 1911. In 2001, they started selling their own cider and wine on premises, but in 2013, they started rising as one of the fastest-growing spirits brands anywhere. In rapid succession, they started doing off-premises sales, expanded their campus to include a bar, restaurant, and shops, built a 15,000 square foot production and bottling plant, doubled it in size, got voted the top apple orchard in America by USA Today readers, and to cap it off, became a nationally-known concert venue that can draw 15,000 music fans to Onandaga County on a weekend.
In addition to big concerts on the property, they also offer smaller activities like yoga, an orchard run, and smaller performances in their tasting room. They’re New York’s third-largest orchard.
7. Indian Ladder Farms Cidery and Brewery, Altamont
Photo by @targar32
Like many of the cideries on this list, Indian Ladder Farms has a 100-year history as an apple orchard. They’re located about a half-hour west of Albany, and in 2011, they began experimenting with making cider and beer using ingredients directly from their farm. The Albany Times Union called their taproom the “smallest in New York State… two bar stools are quite literally all that fits into the space, besides the tap system and bar itself.” There’s also lots of outdoor space to wander and sip your cider while eating donuts, which are repeatedly referenced online as being crave-worthy.
8. Nine Pin Cider, Albany
Photo by @encurtis
Nine Pin Cider is considered New York State’s first officially licensed farm cidery, as it was the first to sign up in 2014. They source apples from four farms, in Kinderhook (Samascott Orchards), Johnstown (Roger’s Family Orchards), Rexford (Lindsey’s Idyllwood Orchard) and Indian Ladder farms (see above). Their location on Broadway in Albany is for processing, bottling and labeling, and then there’s a short trip for the product to get into their popular tasting room and bar. This startup isn’t just a New York success; earlier this year, they announced a partnership with Berkshire Brewing Company to distribute their product in Massachusetts as well.
9. Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard, North Salem
Photo by @alijudah
The home of Hardscrabble Cider, Harvest Moon Farms is a conveniently located for NYC-ers about two minutes from the Croton Falls Metro-North station in North Salem. They call themselves a micro farm-cidery, and were founded by three brothers (obviously the Three Brothers name was already taken).
10. Wayside Cider, Andes
Photo by @wayside_cider
Wayside Cider started out on a farm in Delhi, NY in 2014; in 2016, they opened a tasting room just off of Main Street in the neighboring village of Andes. That corner of the Catskills is turning into a cluster of craft beverage-making; Kelsey Grammer’s brewery is launching soon in nearby Margaretville, while Weaver Hollow Farmhouse Ales is coming soon to Andes.
11. Westwind Orchard & Cidery, Accord
Photo by @dlee0427
According to Chalkboard Magazine, this is the only organic apple orchard in New York State. In 2001, it was bought by a couple who brought the farm back to life after ten years of sitting dormant. A few years ago, they launched three labels of apple cider: classic, raspberry and goldrush, which they serve, along with pizza, at the orchard on weekends from Memorial Day weekend until the end of October. Conde Nast Traveler called the pizza “amazing.” The farm also features honeybees, donuts, pigs and chickens.
12. Fly Creek Cider Mill, Fly Creek
If you’re in Coopstertown for the Baseball Hall of Fame and/or Ommegang, you should also check out what they’re doing at Fly Creek. This is a real water-powered mill that’s been operating for over 160 years; in 2003, they started making apple wines and cider on-site. One cool variety is Apple Frost, which is made from “cryo-extraction concentrated mill-made cider.”
Featured above is Pitch Slapped, the first all-women a cappella group at SUNY Oneonta, who loves to take their group bonding trips to Fly Creek!
Want to hear from some of the top cider marketers in the world about how to get on this list? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Cider Marketing.
Kingston Creative is a full-service marketing agency located in Kingston, NY, amidst the Hudson Valley and Catskills. We provide services like branding, marketing campaigns, and website design to people and organizations that want their passion for what they do to translate into results.