It all began in 2013 when Jared began to notice that the hundreds of old apple trees he runs past every day were beginning to drop fruit. Not a little fruit, but a lot. Jared dubbed this the year of the ‘great fruit rot’. Determined to make these orchards viable again, Jared began making hard apple cider behind the barn of some newly acquired friends.
Once rural America’s drink of choice, hard cider had gone somewhat out of fashion. And its revival was mostly spearheaded by sweet, sticky cider with artificial colors and added flavoring. Good in their own right, these ciders hardly touched the classic dry ciders of early America, or even modern Europe.
Fast forward to 2015, when a boy meets a girl. Jared and Elizabeth fell in love in the same manor that both came to realize defined their personalities: wholeheartedly and enthusiastically. Elizabeth began to introduce Jared to the world of wine (he mostly drank beer at that time) and it dawned on Jared that the problem with cider in America, is that it is being produced and treated like beer, and not the wine that it is.
A few years past, and Jared and Elizabeth began to craft fine ciders together. First, in small batches in their garage in Fort Collins, CO, then on a larger scale when they moved south to Durango – where the fruit grows.
In 2019, they took several leaps, in their first year of marriage, they began their own cider company in earnest. EsoTerra Cider can be found crafting cider along the banks of the Dolores River.
Cider that requires climbing trees to pick fruit.
Cider that focuses on the unique flavors of a multitude of apple varieties.
Cider that has no coloring, flavoring, or additives.
Cider that is served in a wine glass.
Cider born from a land, somewhat forgotten.
EsoTerra Cider: Savor the Land, Drink Real Cider!
The Story of the Apples
If you are ever looking for our cidermaker, your best bet is to look up. Look to the trees, and you will find him. Perched, poised, and waiting for the perfect day to gather the unique fruit that makes EsoTerra hard ciders.
EsoTerra works with over 50 family orchards and backyard tree owners in SouthWest Colorado. Some orchards cover vast expanses of acreage, others are a single tree - often the only known of its variety. And varietals abound in our region; there are over 500 known and named varieties total, and an additional 100+ unique/unknown specimens. Many of these apples are gnarly, small and russetted; not the fancy fruit you see displayed in grocery stores. However, their balance of tannin, acid and sugars are perfectly suited to crafting the highest quality ciders; and so we search for them.
We scour our landscape for those apples that are steeped in history, often crafting ciders from 130 year old trees. Fruit that was planted for the miners who once toiled in historic mountain mining towns like Rico, Silverton and Telluride. Rows of fruit planted by generations prior to today’s occupants, still producing apples in a somewhat forgotten land.
Much has been written about our region’s orchards. If you are interested in diving deeper, please visit the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project website for a deeper look at the past, present and future of our world famous apples.
Our son, Avery, enjoying the natural state of things
at the Black Sheep Orchard.