When Stefanie Meyers and Trista Sordillo moved to Denver, they were introduced to something life changing: a hard cider that didn’t taste overwhelmingly sweet.
In Colorado — the state with the second most breweries in the nation — hard craft beverages is a growing industry. “There’s a brewery on every corner, everybody’s making their own alcohol, fermenting everything,” Meyers explained. Among all the breweries in their neighborhood, there was a local cidery. When they visited, Meyers expected the cider to taste like ones she’s had in the past.
“This was the first place that had more of a dry-style cider,” she explained. “We didn’t even know it could taste like that.”
With their curiosities piqued, the couple drank the Denver Kool-Aid and attempted to create their own homemade dry cider.
“The first batch was so bad,” Meyers said. “Back then there were a lot less resources about making cider, so it was really trial and error, making batches with different kinds of yeasts and apples.”
The couple continued to make batches of homemade hard cider, using family and friends as their taste-testers. “We had some very supportive friends and family, but I don’t think anyone really wanted to drink what we were making,” she said. When she and her wife eventually moved to New York City, they brought their Colorado-inspired passion with them.
“We decided to buy a place out east,” said Meyers. “New York City apartments are tiny, so having a whole house to do my own sort of home brewing was really exciting.”
There, they met Leslie Merinoff — a co-founder of Matchbook Distilling Co. in Greenport. “We eventually shared our cider with her to see if it was actually drinkable,” she explained. “They were like, ‘we can help you make this real.’”
Today, the couple’s cider is more than just “drinkable.”
With the help of Matchbook Distilling, they’ve created Southold Cider — a brand of deliciously crisp ciders sold across the North Fork. The company’s logo, a mountain bisected by water, symbolizes their journey. Each hard cider is made with locally pressed apples from Breeze Hill Farm and bottled at Matchbook Distilling Co.
Resembling the taste and feel of a sparkling wine, Southold Cider comes in a variety of flavors. There’s Saison Cider — their version of a traditional dry cider — as well as Jalapeño Cider, Hopped Cider, and Rosé Cider.
Most recently, they’ve developed a flavor called Harvest: a flavorful blend of cinnamon, cloves, and star anise. “It’s really lovely,” said Meyers. “It’s balanced and perfect for this weather.”
Their cider is currently available for sale at Bogey’s Bottled Goods in Southold, One Kourt Studio in Greenport and Lieb Cellars in Cutchogue.
This will be the second year that Southold Cider is selling their products in stores — each batch is made starting in the fall and is ready to be sold by the end of summer. “This is a project of love for my wife and I,” said Meyers. “Without the support of Matchbook and Breeze Hill and all of the local shops and businesses that took the chance on carrying us, we wouldn’t be doing this for a second year, much less thinking about a third.”