Hard Cider: An American History

Hard cider was a staple in the early American diet, but by 1840 it began to disappear from the culture altogether. However, as the local and craft beer industry has exploded, hard cider has burst back onto the scene with more producers bringing it back to American taste buds.

apples for cider

Initial Popularity

By the 1600s, hard cider had been popular in England for generations. Water in England was often contaminated, making hard cider a primary source of hydration for many people. It should come as no surprise that the first English settlers in North America would be familiar with cider production and eager to establish cider-pressing operations in the New World. In fact, historic folklore suggests that when a large timber on the Mayflower cracked during a strong ocean storm, the pilgrims propped it up with the large screw from their cider press.

Early settlers brought both young apple saplings and seeds to New England, and orchards were quickly established. Some orchard towns were producing 3,000 barrels of hard cider a year. Hard cider became so ubiquitous that even children consumed it with breakfast. Candidates for political office, including George Washington, used hard cider to motivate voters.

Declining Consumption and Comeback

Hard cider remained popular for several hundred years, but beginning in 1840, Americans began drinking less of it. Production declined so much over the next decades that by the time prohibition ended, hard cider had all but disappeared from American culture. Hard cider’s demise was the result of several factors, including the temperance movement. A large-scale temperance movement began in the U.S. in the 1820s and the social pressure it exerted influenced even casual hard cider users to purge it from their lives. After prohibition ended, the beer and soft drink industries took off, keeping hard cider from regaining a foothold in a country that had once prided itself on having the best cider on earth.

The craft brewery movement of recent years is responsible for returning the crisp, locally sourced beverage Americans have loved for centuries to the forefront of alcoholic beverage trends today. Try one of the many new and evolving varieties today!

Stay Warm This Winter With These 4 Tasty Drinks

During these cold winter months, there are many ways to stay cozy. Sitting by a fire, snuggling under a blanket, or enjoying a hot alcoholic beverage are fun ways to add to the holiday warmth. These four drinks can be made as listed or used as inspiration for your next holiday party or cold winter evening.

mulling spices

Mulled Ale

A spin on mulled wine, this warm beverage allows for innovation as many beer options can be used. The basic recipe calls for the beer of your choice, honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. Start by warming up your favorite beer on a stovetop, and bring it just below a boiling point. Next mix in the honey and spices to taste. For those who are more practiced in mixology, stir together an egg and sugar and add it to the mulled ale for a more traditional take on this warm drink.

Hard Apple Cider & Rum

This beverage is a fall tradition that mixes comforting and familiar tastes. Hard apple cider and rum represent the perfect balance of an alcoholic bite with a mild sweetener. Top these drinks off with a cinnamon stick for aesthetics and added flavor. For those wanting to add a twist to this classic winter beverage, try different flavors of hard cider like honey or pear.

Crabapple Lambswool

This warm beer beverage takes a bit of cooking, but the end result is well worth the time in the kitchen. This drink calls for your favorite brand of porter, a bit of sherry, a tablespoon of brown sugar, a dash of cinnamon, and a baked apple. Bake the apple in an oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. After the apple is cooked, quickly scrape out the fruit from its skin and add the pulp to your mixture of beer, sherry, and spices. The heat of the apple should bring your drink to a nice warm temperature.

Peppery Ginger Cider

For those who love a bit of a bite in their alcoholic libations, this drink combines hard apple cider with bourbon. For the ginger taste either use ginger flavored hard cider, or use original hard cider but add in a bit of ginger liqueur along with a few splashes of bourbon. Stir these together and bring them just below the boiling point on a stovetop. Next mix in lemon juice to taste for a citrus pop. Lastly, sprinkle in a bit of cracked black pepper or coat the rim of the glass before serving.

Columbia Distributing offers many beverages to help you stay warm, have fun, and explore new drinks this winter.

Best Craft Breweries and Beers in Oregon

Oregon is a utopia for great craft beers, and Columbia Distributing proudly represents and delivers so many of them. However, the vast selection can be overwhelming, even for an aficionado. Explore this guide, broken down by Breweries for convenience, to find the best beers across the state.

famous portland oregon neon sign

Barley’s Brown Beer

They have a great selection of all types of beers, although their Shredders Wheat was awarded the 2015 silver for “American Style Wheat Beer” in the Oregon Beer Awards. At the same time, their Pallet Jack IPA won Bronze in the Copa Cervezas de America, showing off their impressive versatility.

Hop Valley Brewing Co.

Started by four lifelong Oregonians, this brewery is as local as it gets. With an extensive selection of drinkable yet distinct brews and dedication to the hop history of Oregon, there’s a lot to enjoy from Hop Valley. They boast many rotating seasonal flavors, including their Blonde Ale and Citrus Mistress IPA, which both placed at the Beer World Cup in 2014.


Deschutes is a well-known name among craft beer enthusiasts, and for good reason. Their Abyss beer was chosen by Oregon Live as the second best of 2016 thanks to its dark, complex flavor. They also have a wide range of beers and exciting new brews coming out seasonally.

Hair of the Dog

Besides a great name, Hair of the Dog is one of the most established independent breweries. Barrel-aged, family run, and locally sourced, this business stays true to its values. Their “Adam” beer is a classic, but they have a lot of great flavors, including the Blue Dot IPA, which has been making waves in the craft community.

Hopworks Urban Brewery

Hopworks can be found in the heart of Portland and uses hops from the surrounding area. Their Ace of Spaces is an Imperial IPA that packs a punch. Those who like hops, hints of citrus, and a sliver of sharp bitterness will love this beer.

These excellent craft beers make Columbia Distributing proud to work in Oregon. Even better, they represent but a small number of the total Oregon-based selection!

Pair Each Holiday Dinner With the Perfect Beverage

Whether bringing a six-pack to a friend’s holiday party or buying a little something for yourself, finding the perfect complement to heavy, comfort food can be difficult. Here is a quick guide on which beverage to reach for during the holiday season.

beer illustration

While Cooking

Whether cooking or just hanging out, make sure not to get filled up before the meals starts. A crisp, light beverage is the best way to go. A Pilsner or Pils is a good choice to whet the palate. For flavor, anything with a tart aftertaste will prepare the tongue for the hearty food that is often accompanied with a cranberry or apple spark.

Between Forkfuls of Food

Of course, the most important beverage choice comes during the meal. Since meats are the staple of most holiday meals, an Oktoberfest will pair nicely, as the Germans know how to mesh meat and beer. A Belgian-style pale ale has some carbonization that cleanses the tongue between each bite to allow for a tour of all the foods available. For those who shy away from beer, a hard cider has that same crispness with a fruity bite that foreshadows dinner for the tongue.

Relaxing Time

Traditionally, a stout is favored after dinner for coffee, chocolate, or hoppy flavors. These will compliment and pull out the flavors of pies and cakes. Many Christmas ales feature cinnamon or a bit of spice to take the edge off all the sweetness. A sipping beer with a hint of spice or citrus can undercut an overly sweet dessert. On the other hand, a strong sipping ale that has elements of vanilla, cherry, and nuts is a nice alternative to a dessert and sits well on a full stomach.

Columbia Distributing wishes a happy holiday to you and your family!