HARVARD, Mass. — The Carlson family, along with the team at New England Apple Products of Leominster, MA, are pleased to announce the establishment of Carlson Orchards Hard Cider, continuing a long tradition of working with apples.
Carlson Orchards has produced Massachusetts’ market leading non-alcoholic farmstand cider for the last 40 years. This premium cider is available throughout the state in supermarkets such as Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Big Y, and Roche Bros, as well as hundreds of smaller retailers. Carlson’s premium farmstand cider has been a consistent beacon of quality, making use of the highest grade local apples grown with sustainable practices.
The Carlson brothers had been contemplating entering the hard cider market for several years, and the timing finally came together this past Fall when they tested sales of hard cider from their orchard in Harvard, MA. “As we were researching and planning a hard cider line we consulted with the lads from Stormalong Cider about a year ago to discuss the project. Stormalong had their production facility set up in the New England Apple Products building, which is the same location in Leominster where our premium fresh market cider is now made,” remarked Frank Carlson, president of Carlson Orchards, Inc. “It was a natural fit to work with both Stormalong and New England Apple on the production of our hard cider. We wanted to produce a hard cider that was similar to our premium farmstand cider and ultimately decided to make an ‘unfiltered’ hard cider for increased apple taste and character,” continued Carlson.
Carlson Orchards Hard Cider’s first off-site release will be packaged in 16 ounce cans and is named “Oak Hill Blend” after the road where the Carlson’s home orchard is located. This cider is bursting with fresh apple taste and aroma, perfectly balancing tart and sweet. Oak Hill Blend is made 100% from freshly pressed apples with no added sugar, concentrate, or additives and is of course gluten-free.
After the first batches of Oak Hill Blend sold out quickly from the farm while receiving positive feedback, discussions began with distributors to help launch the brand in Massachusetts. “We were looking for a partner who understood the Carlson Orchards’ brand and who also shared a similar vision with regards to scale and capabilities,” said Steve Rowse, President of New England Apple Products. “Massachusetts Beverage Alliance and the distributors within their network definitely demonstrated a plan that we felt provided the right opportunity.”
“The Massachusetts Beverage Alliance is very proud to represent Carlson Orchards Hard Cider throughout the Commonwealth. After taking our first sip we knew right away that Oak Hill Blend was a tremendous opportunity for us. Supporting local producers is important to us so we are excited to offer Carlson’s to all the thirsty hard cider drinkers out there!” said Brian Murphy, General Manager of Massachusetts Beverage Alliance.
Carlson Orchards Hard Cider will be available throughout Massachusetts starting on April 1st, 2018. There are also plans in the works for a tasting room in Harvard, MA, on site at Carlson Orchards. Completion of this new structure is expected by the Fall of 2018. Until then, visitors can get ready for Spring and the upcoming growing season by visiting Carlson Orchards and trying out some of their delicious produce and apple products, including the new Oak Hill Blend hard cider!
About Carlson Orchards
Carlson Orchards was founded in 1936 by Walter and Eleanor Carlson. In the thirties and forties, they made their living from a diversified farm of chickens, cows, potatoes and apples. In the late sixties, the farm specialized in fruits with apples becoming the main crop. The Carlsons started selling freshly pressed cider from the farm in 1975 and helped to grow this business into the market leading fresh cider company in Massachusetts. Carlson Orchards is dedicated to growing the best tree fruits, blueberries, raspberries, and pumpkins available anywhere. For more information on Carlson Orchards, please visit www.carlsonorchards.com.