Longtime Westchester resident Geoff Thompson has officially jumped into the Hudson Valley’s rapidly growing, artisan hard cider market. The owner of Thompson’s Cider Mill in Croton-on-Hudson since 1976, Thompson launched a new line of hard ciders earlier this month, fulfilling a 40-year-old dream of “perfecting cider the way they were in the late 1880s and early 1900s, the golden age of Westchester agriculture,” he says.
Crafted from more than 30 varieties of heirloom apples, sourced from his property and other local orchards, the dry and semi-dry ciders are Thompson’s way of “preserving a piece of our history in this area that was kind of important,” he says.
After experimenting with making hard ciders, he realized it was time to get serious when customers, who also enjoyed his standard cider and apple wine, kept asking about it. He enlisted the help of Dan O’Brien, a trained cider maker, to “bring a level of sophistication and knowledge to producing the cider,” says Thompson, who’s looking to cater to the high-end of the cider market. “The level of sophistication I’m looking for requires a bit more skill.”
Thompson describes his ciders as similar to English cider, which is “lighter, sparkling, and not super sweet.” Currently on tap and in bottles at RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen, Thompson plans to introduce his new line at other area restaurants by the end of 2018, including Croton’s Ocean House and Memphis Mae’s, and Briarcliff Manor’s 105-Ten and Chatterbox 54, as well as offering them for sale through the Thompson’s Cider Mill website.
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