Shelton Brothers Does Cider

Well, sure, we’ve been asked to bring in ciders before, but we didn’t much like the ones we tried and figured we’d stick to beer. Three or four years ago, however, we started to hear a bit of a buzz about traditional English farmhouse cider, so we spent a few months poking around the U.K. in search of the real stuff. But it all proved to be just more of the same, bland, sugary-sweet, alcoholic apple juice we’d rejected in the past — and eventually we gave up.

Then, out of the blue, in December, 2005, my brother got an email from Jordana Pomeroy, curator of art, and proprietor of Minerva Imports in Washington DC, saying that she’d like to talk to us about some outstanding cider and perry that her good friend Tom Oliver was making on his farm in Herefordshire. Brother Ron, who had already been planning a trip to England, was promptly dispatched to Oliver’s Cider House to have a look.

Lo and behold, this stuff was good! No, it wasn’t just good, it was fabulous . . . . dry, and complex, brimming with intense flavors. Fermented with wild yeasts and aged in oak casks, it had more in common with Belgian Gueuze than it did with the ‘ciders’ we’d had in the past. Who knew? Well, apparently Jordana did, and we can’t thank her enough.

Oliver’s ciders and parries are made using only locally grown, unsprayed fruit, hand-pressed at the old farm in Herefordshire which has been producing cider and perry for at least three centuries. We’re very pleased to have three different products from Oliver’s, all of which have just arrived in the USA for the first time this week. We’ve got only 60 cases of each, however, so you may have to work a bit to find them. We think it will be worth the effort.

These products have just arrived in our warehouse and won’t be in stores until next week, but here is a short list of retailers that will be carrying them:

Manchester Wine & Spirits, Manchester
Villa Spirits, Mansfield
Northeast Wines, Danielson

Red Star, Baton Rouge

Wilton Wine Merchants, Wilton
Downeast Beverage, Portland
McKean & Charles Wine Merchant, Waldoboro
The Cheese Iron, Scarborough
Oak Hill Beverage, Scarborough
Madden Beverage, Saco
Tully’s, Wells
The Black Sheep Wine Shop, Brunswick
The Market Basket, Rockport

Max’s Taphouse, Baltimore
Chevy Chase Wines & Liquors, Chevy Chase
State Line Liquors, Elkton

Julio’s Liquors, Westbrough
Colonial Spirits, Acton
Liquors World, Cambridge
Spirit Haus, Amherst
Deep Ellum, Allston
Downtown Wine & Spirits, Somerville
The Dirty Truth, Northampton
Berman’s Wine & Liquors, Lexington

Merchant’s Fine Wine, Dearborn
Cloverleaf Wine & Spirits, Southfield
Papa Joe’s, Birmingham
Red Wagon, Troy and Rochester

Freakin’ Frog, Las Vegas
Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits, Las Vegas (2 locations)

Whole Foods (all four Manhattan stores)
Bierkraft, Brooklyn
New Beer, Manhattan

Brawley’s, Charlotte
Sam’s, Durham
A Southern Season, Chapel Hill

Belmont Station, Portland
Liquid Solutions, Oregon City
John’s Market, Multnomah Village (Portland)

Rutland Natural Foods, Rutland
City Market, Burlington

We’ll add more retail outlets as the ciders make their way around the country.

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