The Pacific Northwest Cider Awards (PNWCA) held its second annual cider competition on June 5 and 6 in Seattle. On Friday, June 5, a panel of twenty judges made up primarily of media and cider enthusiasts headed to Seattle Capitol Cider to taste about 145 products in multiple cider categories. Over 35 cideries from the Pacific Northwest participated in the PNWCA. On Saturday, June 6, following the awards, Seattle Cider Company opened its tasting room doors — “The Woods” — to the public and featured 30 ciders from the cideries participating in the PNWCA festival.

The ciders were registered in 14 distinct categories, with gold, silver and bronze medal awarded in almost every category. Each judging panel was made up of 4 or 5 judges who tasted through 2 or 3 categories each. All judges then participated in a second tasting featuring the gold medals of each category to designate the “Best in Show” medal for the 2015 competition. This year’s winner was Wandering Aengus Ciderworks “Bloom,” a cidery based in Salem, Oregon. The complete results of the PNWCA can be found here.

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Stoel Rives was proud to be part of this competition and learn more about the fast-growing market of Northwest ciders. Cidermakers from the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana and British Columbia were able to show their creativity and submitted an impressively wide range of ciders, from traditional styles sweet or dry, to wood-aged, hopped, ginger, or fruit ciders. That is one of the characteristics of Northwest cider: within the same cidery, a consumer may taste a traditional 100% apple cider, or a rum barrel aged cider, a ginger cider, or maybe a raspberry cider.

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The Northwest Cider Association  co-organized the event this year and is a great example of how fast the cider industry is growing in the Northwest. Founded in 2010, the association represents now more than 70 commercial cidermakers, as well as orchardists and cider enthusiasts. Sherrye Wyatt, the executive director, was also present for the judging and was as impressed as us by the innovation of NW cidermakers: “It was a great lineup this year with more entries and more categories than ever before. The wide variety of ciders is a reflection of the diversity and creativity of our rapidly growing industry.” The NWCA has been promoting the interests of Northwest ciders for five years now and thrives to get the products international recognition by focusing on the quality of the fruits used in the Pacific Northwest and the “savoir-faire” of its members.

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The PNWCA started last year at the initiative of the Seattle Cider Company. This year again, the owner Joel and his staff did an impressive job running things and making it a flawless competition. Owner of “Two Beers Brewing” brewery, Joel then opened his cidery and has been a key player in the Northwest cider industry ever since.

Cider festivities are only starting for the summer as the Oregon Cider Week will kick-off Thursday, June 18 until Sunday, June 28, featuring events every day at many cideries and taprooms in the Northwest to celebrate Oregon cider.

This post was written with the assistance of Olivier Jamin, a Legal Extern with Stoel Rives LLP not currently licensed to practice law in Oregon.