Andrew and Robin Meier, the husband-and-wife cider-making team, are at the helm of Four Daughters Wine & Cidery, located within Abbott Farms. (Photo: facebook.com/FourDaughtersNY)
The country store, pick-your-own fields and orchards, corn maze and barnyard at Abbott Farms now have a new sister: Four Daughters Wine & Cidery.
The new venture, which features hard cider made from Abbott’s own apples and other fruits, celebrated its ribbon-cutting Sept. 8. The cidery held a soft opening Aug. 12 and its grand opening Sept. 1.
“That was a wild Friday night,” said cider maker Andrew Meier. “At one point we had no wooden flight [sample paddles] and we were out of glasses.”
The taproom, located within the country store, was packed for the ribbon cutting as well, as Andrew Meier and his fellow cider maker and spouse Robin Meier poured glasses, flights and growlers of their own cider and New York state wine and beer for a long line of customers.
The Meiers began making cider only three years ago. Andrew Meier said he watched a few friends take up home brewing and became intrigued.
“Around the same time, my wife and I got the job here at Abbott’s making regular cider,” he said.
The Meiers began experimenting with fermentation of the leftover apples with the help of Claude Jolicoeur’s “The New Cider Maker’s Handbook.” Abbott Farms CEO/CFO Warren Abbott suggested they start selling their hard cider in the country store.
“Just three years from zero to 60,” Andrew Meier said. “We’re still learning, too.”
Robin Meier said she and her husband were pleasantly surprised at their sudden popularity. Since the soft opening last month, customers have been clamoring for Four Daughters’ whiskey-barrel aged cider, which is made with barrels from Last Shot Distillery in Skaneateles. The Meiers tapped a fresh keg of that cider for the ribbon cutting, and it was gone within a couple of hours.
“That whiskey-barrel aged, we cannot keep,” Robin Meier said. “I’ve got cider waiting, but I need barrels to put it in.”
Fortunately, Four Daughters has several other varieties of hard cider and the Meiers are planning to expand their offerings.
Andrew Meier said he has been inspired by the cider scene of the Pacific Northwest as well as the cornucopia of produce coming out of Abbott Farms.
“Our goal is to make one cider with each of the fruits here on the farm,” Andrew Meier said.
So far, the Meiers have crafted cherry and strawberry apple ciders; blueberry, raspberry and plum are next on their list.
Having worked as a pharmacist before his cider-making days, Andrew Meier takes a scientific approach to his new career. He studies the acid and sugar contents of each variety of apple and built the carbonation system for the taproom himself.
“Fermentation’s all microbiology and chemistry,” he said.
Currently, there are no plans to distribute Four Daughters cider in bottles and cans. It’s only available from the taproom.
“Our model is WT Brews, where you sell off the tap, by the growler or by the glass,” Andrew Meier said.
Four Daughters augments its offerings with wine from Thousand Islands Winery and beer from Hopshire Farm and Brewery and WT Brews.
“We definitely want to … keep it local, collaborate and make New York state products,” Robin Meier said. “There’s no one else doing cider on the north side of Syracuse.”
While the Meiers are bringing something new to the Baldwinsville area, Robin Meier said Four Daughters will uphold the tradition and standards of Abbott Farms.
“Abbott’s has entrusted us with a lot of responsibility,” she said. “I want to make a good product and make something we can be proud of.”
Four Daughters Wine & Cidery is open from 3 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 3 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, noon to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The taproom is located within Abbott Farms’ country store at 3275 Cold Springs Road.
To learn more, call (315) 638-7783 or visit facebook.com/FourDaughtersNY.
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.