But more so, this new popular drink is driving interest among visitors providing a new experience for travelers through tastings, events, food tours and restaurant menus.
With more than 20,000 acres of apple trees, Adams County is known nationally for its place in the hard cider industry. This new trend is already making an impact on the region's economy, and has the potential to grow even further as more cider makers and cider-related events emerge in the area.
The county is home to several cider makers, including two of Destination Gettysburg’s winery members – Reid’s Orchard & Winery and Hauser Estate Winery, which produces Jack’s Hard Cider. Both feature cider extensively at their downtown tasting locations. Additionally, many local restaurants feature cider from Big Hill Cider Works, which produces cider in Gardners, Pa.
Several businesses in Adams County's tourism community have incorporated hard cider into their own experience, including food pairings, tastings and special dinners and events.
Cider-related events – including the inaugural PA Cider Fest this past June, the Hard Cider Run series that occurs twice a year, as well as numerous farm-to-table dinners throughout the region – have attracted a new type of visitor to Adams County: those who look to connect with the county’s rich agriculture and food scene. For these thousands of visitors, hard cider is the reason they visit.
The growth in the hard cider industry has also provided the region’s apple growers with greater demand for apples, as noted in this recent article from the Evening Sun in Hanover, Pa. The article notes the strong economic ties to Adams County’s cider makers and farmers as well as the local tourism industry.
“This robust industry, which encompasses the fastest growing alcoholic beverage market segment in the last decade, has created a multitude of opportunities for our economy to grow its revenue,” said Amanda Yeager Sterner of the Penn State Cooperative Extension. “As hard cider continues to mature in popularity among craft beer drinkers, regular, repeat purchases of cider rises, which in turn creates more jobs and keeps dollars in our local economy.
Penn State Cooperative extension estimates the cider to be a $17.1-million industry in Pennsylvania, and that Adams County represents a significant portion of the cider sales within Pennsylvania and other states.
Destination Gettysburg works throughout the year to promote cider to visitors through social media, sales efforts as well as visits by journalists and group tour operators. The destination’s cider experience has been featured in the Washington Post, Leisure Group Travel and numerous food and travel blogs.