HOUSTON – In honor of World Cider Day we’re raising our glasses to Houston’s very first production cidery. Houston Cider Co. actually started out as a brewery, but in 2017 they switched gears to produce only cider and since then have taken a hardcore approach to perfecting their craft. Co-owners Justin Engle and Steve Macalello explain what it means to them to be the Houston’s cider pioneers.
“We are Houston’s first production cidery, meaning that we produce everything that we make,” said Macalello. “We strive to make ciders that represent what Houston’s all about. Houston’s a diverse city, so we want our ciders to reflect that.”
Houston Cider Co. has what they refer to as their “Core Four” flavors: Dry, Cherry, Pineapple Ginger and Rosé. In addition, they offer rotating small-batch releases with wild ingredients like Soprano’s Revenge which boasts a bite of Sichuan pink peppercorns, bay laurels, tangerine and local honey. Engle is proud to source their ingredients from local farmers and businesses to support the Houston community.
“A lot of the ingredients that we use are fresh ingredients,” said Engle. “I actually do go around to a lot of the farmers out at Urban Harvest and take a look at their ingredients and see what’s fresh at the time.”
Another thing Houston Cider Co. is proud of is their commitment to their team. According to Macalello, the secret to their outside-of-the-box flavors is fostering a workplace where people aren’t afraid to speak their minds.
“Creating a culture where it’s OK to throw out a weird idea and not feel like people are going to look at you like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ That’s really important,” said Macalello.
And for those who are prejudiced against cider because of big name brands selling sugary-sweet spiked apple juice, Macalello hopes Houston Cider Co.’s commitment to the craft will change their minds.
“As Houston’s first production cidery, it’s almost incumbent on us to take that responsibility seriously and make sure people are left with the right impression of cider,” said Macalello.
Watch the full video above to see a tasting of Houston Cider Co.’s Dry, Cherry, Singapore Sling and Hibiscus Mint flavors.