With more cideries than any other state in the country (69, according to the United States Association of Cider Makers) and a worldwide reputation for apple production, Washington state and the Craft Brewing and Distilling Center are a natural fit for the emerging craft cider industry. According to the December, 2015 article in the Portland Business Journal, “The U.S. cider industry has been on a tear, nearly doubling output each of the past three years.” While speaking at the 2016 Cidercon, held in Portland Oregon in February 2016, Jon London of Angry Orchard Cider predicted a 15 percent growth rate for cider over the next five years, which would put cider at 2 percent of beer sales by 2020. Draft Mag’s, Kate Bernot, reported other statistics from the conference, such as the number of cider drinkers in the U.S. reached 18 million in 2015 (up from 5 million in 2011) which generated $1 billion worth of retail sales.
As the craft cider industry matures, the need for orchards growing specialty cider apples will continue to rise. The Washington State University Extension studies the suitability of Western Washington to meet the demand, providing orchardists and investors with detailed figures of costs per acre and exploring the strengths and weaknesses of different varieties in terms of production and harvest. (http://ext100.wsu.edu/maritimefruit/hard-cider/ )