What are cider apples?

The intentional production of cider apples differs from the tradition of diverting lower-grade fruit of dessert cultivars, e.g., ‘McIntosh’, ‘Empire’, ‘Honeycrisp’, etc., from fresh markets to an on-farm or third-party cider mill. For the purposes of this guide, “cider apples” refers to apples intentionally grown for the purpose of making cider. Likewise, “cider” in this case refers to fermented, alcoholic apple juice and products made from it. While the majority of juice that is made into cider in New England is sourced from culled dessert fruit, many growers and cideries are interested in sourcing fruit of specific cultivars that contribute unique aromas and flavors to finished cider, or fruit grown with reduced inputs to meet economic or marketing considerations. A “cidery” is a business which ferments apple juice into cider for sale to consumers through on-site, retail, or wholesale market channels.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, through the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under subaward number  LNE19-373.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.