Hard Cider Brewing in Leominster
By Peter Jasinski, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jul. 14, 2017
LEOMINSTER -- Though Stormalong Cider founder and owner Shannon Edgar might enjoy that his company's newest production facility has opened in the hometown of Johnny Appleseed, it wasn't the only reason they decided to open here.
"We were already pressing apples here so it made a lot of sense," Edgar said of Stormalong's new brewing operation on Industrial Road.
The cider maker was already working with New England Apple Products to press apples in Leominster, but Edgar explained that being able to brew on location would also give them more control of how their cider is made.
"In almost any other cider company in the state, they're trucking juice around. They order juice from a supplier that's doing what they want with their blend, but they're not physically at the press directing what they want to have happen," he said.
Stormalong moved into the facility in May, but officially canned their first batch of cider last week.
Prior to their move to Leominster, the company had brewed all of its cider at its original facilities in the town of Sherborn, which will still be used to make barrel-aged products. Edgar said the Leominster facility will be the company's canning and kegging operation and will Stormalong to increase production tenfold.
In the first year of production in Leominster, Edgar estimates that anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 gallons of cider will be produced, however the facility does have the capability of brewing as much as 150,000 gallons for year and the company is leaving room for further expansion.
Apples used for the cider will travel from all over New England to be pressed for juice in Leominster, and some will also be coming from Stormalong's 10-acre orchard in Sherborn and Carlson Orchards in Harvard.
"To us, apple selection and blends are paramount. We have a small orchard where we grow some of the hard-to-find varieties, and we also have relationships with specific growers in New England to source these apples," Edgar said.
Freezing pressed juices from local fruit, as well as stockpiling apples, will allow Stormalong to continue to produce their cider using New England produce throughout the year.
The company is also exploring the possibility of creating a tap room where their ciders could be sampled, but the exact location of where that might be built is yet to be determined. Edgar did say that it could possibly be built in Leominster.
Since it was founded in 2014, Stormalong's core products have been its Legendary Dry and Dry Hop ciders. Both will be brewed in Leominster, as well as Mass Appeal, the company's newest cider.
Though Stormalong is Leominster's largest commercial operation for producing hard cider, they are not the first. Downeast Cider moved its production operations to Leominster in 2012 before relocating to a larger facility in Boston.
Follow Peter Jasinski on Twitter @PeterJasinski53.