SEBASTOPOL, CA. — ACE Premium Craft Cider has released the second vintage of its signature “Blackjack 21” hard apple cider, the family-owned and operated company announced today. The limited release, small-batch “champagne of the cider world” is barrel-aged, and made entirely from Sonoma County Gravenstein apples.
Local Gravenstein apples are pressed, fermented to 9% ABV (alcohol by volume), and then aged in oak chardonnay barrels repurposed from local wineries. The result is designated “Imperial” cider or “apple wine”, meaning that it has a higher alcohol content than most hard ciders, which generally weigh in at about 5%.
ACE, the largest and oldest craft cider-maker on the West Coast, is leading a resurgence in the iconic Gravenstein, which until recently was being displaced at a rapid rate by wine grapes in the apple variety’s traditional Northern California growing region. Prized for its sweet-tart taste, the Gravenstein has been designated a heritage food through the efforts of the local Slow Food Russian River chapter.
Blackjack 21 is rare among hard apple ciders. It is the only barrel-aged cider on the market made entirely from Sonoma County grown Gravenstein apples. Drier than most of the ACE lineup, its 9% alcohol by volume makes Blackjack 21 more akin to fine Champagne than ordinary cider, leading many establishments to serve it in a fluted glass.
“We’re so proud to make this cider from pure Sonoma County Gravensteins,” said Jeffrey House, ACE’s founder and an early visionary in the hard cider market. “Not only does this tart, crisp and tangy variety make a superior hard cider, but we’re helping fuel a resurgence in a noble apple variety. Last year we launched BlackJack 21 to celebrate our 21 years of cider making. Each vintage, of course, will be slightly different and I’m especially pleased by the deep golden color and sweet aroma of this year’s bottling.”
BlackJack 21 is available in limited quantities supermarkets, natural foods grocers, and beverage retailers in major markets across the United States. The product is gluten free and available in in 750-ml bottles with a suggested retail price of $15.99. BlackJack 21 is also available on tap at select locations in Sonoma County.
About ACE Premium Craft Cider:
Founded in Sebastopol in 1993 by Jeffrey House, ACE Premium Craft Cider is the oldest hard cider-maker on the West Coast and a pioneer in the exploding market for hard apple ciders. Now producing some 750,000 cases, ACE is still a family affair for House, his wife, and three sons, who are dedicated to the art of craft cider making. The ACE lineup includes Apple, Apple-Honey, Perry, Berry, Pineapple, Pumpkin, Joker in addition to the limited release BlackJack 21 and SPACE Bloody Orange. For more information, visit www.acecider.com.