When the sixth annual Cider Summit Portland returns to Portland from June 17-18, the Oregon Fruit Products Fruit Cider Challenge will be part of Portland’s largest cider tasting festival for the second consecutive year. Oregon Fruit Products will feature 24 fruit ciders as part of its 2nd Annual Oregon Fruit Products Fruit Cider Challenge. Attendees will get to vote on their favorite from the offerings. This year look for fruit flavors of Black Currant, Blood Orange, Blueberry, Boysenberry, Mango, Peach, Raspberry, and Sweet Cherry.
Over the past decade the Salem based Oregon Fruit Products has been providing fresh fruit purees that offer fresh fruit flavor and aromatics to the craft beer, cider and mead industry. Always adding additional flavors to the mix, Oregon Fruit Products recently release a Mango puree with a few additional flavors to come this year that includes Pineapple, Passion Fruit, and Rhubarb.
We recently conducted a brief interview with Chris Sarles, CEO of Oregon Fruit Products. Here is what we learned.
How long has the Oregon Fruit Products’ Fruit Cider Challenge been taking place?
Since 2014 Oregon Fruit has also sponsored similar challenges at Cider Summits held around the country, as well as this year at the Fruit Beer Festival held in Portland.
How did this come about?
We understand that innovation is important to our customers and sometimes it is difficult to find a way for try your new ideas and get feedback in a timely fashion as a producer. We thought we could showcase the quality and ease of using Oregon Fruit Products Purees to potential customers while adding a fun twist to the consumer events around the country. And it’s fun for attendees to try a wide variety of ciders in a day and then vote on their favorite. We thought it was a win for consumers, cider makers and brewers, and Oregon Fruit all the way around.
What is the goal of the Fruit Cider Challenge?
The Fruit Cider Challenge is basically a low-commitment, small-scale opportunity for brewers to stretch their creativity and then immediately test it in the market. They get to choose any offering from our 15 fruit purees and play around, and we get our product in the hands of our customers for practically instant feedback. This year, participants are very excited to tinker with our new Blood Orange flavor – it’s the most popular choice for the challenge. Others will get a chance to try our recently released Mango that has been very well received so far. Many times, the brewers will hit on a flavor combination they really like and start producing a beer or cider inspired by the Challenge. Farmhaus Cider of Michigan produced a blood orange cider that won the cider challenge at the Cider Summit in Chicago and we understand it is a regular item for them now.
At this year’s Cider Summit Portland look for the following flavors for in the 2nd Annual Oregon Fruit Products Fruit Cider Challenge.
Black Currant – Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, Slopeswell, and Bauman’s
Blood Orange – Bull Run, d’s Wicked Cider, Apple Outlaw, Hi-Wheel Wine & Mead, Seattle Cider Co, Swift Cider, Schilling Cider, and #6 Cider
Blueberry – Cider Riot!
Blueberry/ Grapefruit – ^5 Cider
Boysenberry – Eaglemount Wine & Cider and Carlton Cyderworks
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.