1. Blue Toad has multiple locations, in two states!If you read our origin story, you know that Blue Toad’s founders chose Rochester, NY and Nelson County, VA for good reason – it’s home! But even within those two areas, there are several different locations, each with it’s own unique feeling. In Rochester, our flagship tasting room located in Henrietta boasts a beautiful wooden bar with a cozy bar feel. We brew our cider in house at this location, and if you ask nicely, you may be able to take a peek behind closed doors. On certain nights, we host live music by local artists and when the weather is nice, we have our corn hole boards available for patrons to play. If you take 490 over to Victor, you can stop by our second Rochester location. A retired train car has been transformed into the perfect place for you and your friends to taste our locally made cider. Our final Rochester location showcases the very apples we use in our cider recipes. Schutts Apple Mill & Farm in Webster, hosts our third tasting room. While you’re there, be sure to grab some of Schutt’s fresh apples, baked goods, and of course, hard cider! For hours and directions, click here.
2. We have live music!We love featuring local artists and showcasing their talents. Be sure to follow our Facebook pages to get updates on live music events!
3. Growlers, pints, flights – you can try Blue Toad Hard Cider in several ways!If this is your first time walking into a Blue Toad tasting room, be sure to try our cider flights. Flights give you the opportunity to test taste anywhere from two to nine different ciders. Of course, you can always try any of our ciders in a pint. And for those of you who fall in love our cider – we offer growler fills so you can enjoy Blue Toad Hard Cider at home!
4. We have beautiful views!Our Virginia locations offer stellar views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. On a clear day, our Cider Farm boasts some of the most spectacular 360° views in the area. These views are the perfect backdrop for any event, including weddings, which we have started to host!
5. We use locally sourced apples only!Our business model is simple – but very important to us. Blue Toad Hard Cider uses only locally sourced apples for every batch of cider we make. We even go as far as to separate our New York and Virginia ciders. For all the ciders made in New York, our apples are sourced locally from the Rochester area. For those ciders made in Virginia, our apples come from just six miles up the road. We support local business so we encourage you to #drinklocal!
6. You can learn about how Blue Toad Hard Cider is made!Just ask! Our bartenders will be happy to give you a quick tutorial on how our cider is made. If you’re lucky, they may even give you a peek behind the scenes!
Hard Cider is having a moment. Well, its having several moments in reality. Over the past seven years or so, hard cider’s popularity has skyrocketed. In 2011, cider only had about .2% of the market share. By the end of 2014? It owned 1%. Sure, that number isn’t HUGE… but did you do the math? In three years, cider’s market share grew fivefold. That’s absolutely unheard of especially considering that cider had nearly disappeared completely after prohibitionists cut down apple orchards in hopes to destroy the cider makers in the United States.
Between November of 2013 and November of 2014, cider sales had increased 75%. The next closest beverage category? Craft at 20% growth.
There’s plenty of reasons for hard cider’s resurgence – one of which is that cider appeals to women, another is that customers are more curious about craft beverages, whether that be beer or cider, and of course, the fact that cider is gluten-free wins over an entirely different crowd.
In New York State, where Blue Toad currently have three tasting rooms, craft beverage stores in general are popping up everywhere. In the last year, 32 new craft beverage stores opened statewide.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, where Blue Toad currently have a cider pub as well as tasting room, sales for wine and cider (they are grouped together since cider is such a new commodity) were up 6% from 2015 to 2016. More than half a million cases were sold in fiscal year 2016. When separated, cider sales in Virginia were up 52% with over 400,000 cases sold.
So, we pose the question – why do you drink hard cider?