Apple Cider – A History
In the mid-1800’s, cider production began to decline due in part to urbanization, the introduction of beer and the temperance movement. In 1899, 55 million gallons were produced which by 1915 or so was down to 13 million gallons; and then in 1919, production declined even further as prohibition was the law of the land.
During the mid-1900’s, many Wisconsin apple growers produced “fresh” cider. Most orchards and many homeowners had cidermills that would turn out raw cider in the Fall of the year.
In the 1990’s, new FDA rules called for the pasteurization of any cider not sold directly from the orchard that pressed it to the final consumer. Plus, any cider sold direct had to carry a warning label that the product may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in those with a compromised immune system. This was another hit to the apple cider industry, causing many producers – including Wisconsin apple growers — to get out of the cider business.
In 2013, it was reported that the United States had 202 cideries, coming second after the United Kingdom with 300.