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Kaneb Orchards’ St. Lawrence Cider named best hard cider in New York State

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MASSENA - When Kaneb Orchards opens for the 2014 season this morning, it will be debuting its first hard cider, a cider that was recently named the best hard cider in New York state.

Edward Kaneb Jr., who owns and operates the orchard, described the cider as a “sweet cider,” noting it’s made mostly with dessert apples.

St. Lawrence Cider was one of 20 ciders from around the state sampled by judges from around the world during the annual New York Wine & Food Classic in Watkins Glen.

Nancy Badlam, who serves as marketing coordinator for Kaneb Orchards, said samples were sent for judging with little or no expectation.

“We sent off four samples to them in June and heard nothing from them until last week,” Ms. Badlam said. “They called us at 9:30 Wednesday morning and asked if we could come to Watkins Glen that night to accept our award.”

The award was one of many presented by the New York State Wine & Grape Foundation to other wines, beers, ciders and spirits manufactured in New York.

“This is one of the biggest wine competitions in New York state,” Ms. Badlam said, noting more than 830 wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries submitted samples to be judged.

“We were shocked,” Mr. Kaneb said, adding the award for the “best craft cider” was presented by Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy.

Ms. Badlam said that while the feedback they’ve received on the cider has been positive, the award really validates the orchard’s efforts and foray into the hard cider business.

“We have heard people say this is some of the best cider they’ve ever had, but you never know if they’re just saying that,” she said, noting the competition is often called the “Oscars of wine contests.”

In addition to hard cider, all of the orchard’s original offerings like pies, cookies, traditional cider and the orchard’s famous apple cider donuts will be available starting at 10 a.m. today.

The orchard is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Mr. Kaneb said the cider is available in three sizes while supplies last; 750 ml, 375 ml and 250 ml, with bottles ranging in price from $5 to 412.95.

“If we sell out, that would be great,” he said, adding that while similar each batch of cider will be unique.

“Each batch is a little bit different,” Ms. Badlam said. “So when one batch sells out, the next batch will be slightly different.”

Mr. Kaneb said the cider contains 4.9 percent alcohol.

“It’s more than a beer, but less than a wine,” he said.

Those interested in sampling cider prior to making a purchase may do so, Ms. Badlam said, adding a tasting area will be set up at the orchard.

Mr. Kaneb also added St. Lawrence Cider is simply the company’s first hard cider product, with more offerings on the horizon.

“We’re also working on a cranberry cider,” he said.

Ms. Badlam said that cider, called Cranberry Crisp, will be available in the near future, possibly next week.

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