Golden State Cider has become quite popular throughout California in the past few years and is a great alternative to beer or seltzer as it is gluten-free and contains no artificial ingredients. For someone like me who has a gluten intolerance and can’t keep down beer, hard cider is a great option. In fact, hard cider is one of the most sustainable options compared to other alcoholic beverages. I started getting into hard cider about a year ago, and Golden State has been my go-to, which is why it pains me to refrain from giving this company three planets. The only thing stopping me is the fact that their products are not organic. Conventionally grown apples contain more pesticides and toxic chemicals that leave lasting damage to the environment. However, despite this, this company does so much right that I still choose Golden State as my go-to alcoholic beverage… unless I can find an organic cider!
These hard ciders are as simple as it gets, and while simplicity doesn’t always equate to sustainability, in this case, it does! The mighty dry contains only apple juice and champagne yeast. Apples would be a relatively sustainable crop as they require little water, produce little CO2 (they actually absorb CO2!), and leave no significant damage to the areas where they are grown. However, as with any crop, unless it is organically grown, there are numerous toxic pesticides and chemicals sprayed onto the crops that leach into the soil and pollute waterways. In fact, the Environmental Working Group put apples among the top in their list of “the dirty dozen” crops because of the high rate of pesticides used on them.
One major plus is that Golden State uses locally grown apples in Sonoma County, with 100% recyclable packaging, resulting in a pretty low carbon footprint. They also use a method of farming called dry farming. Dry farming essentially means that the crops are grown in the dry season, and use the water leftover from the previous season to save water. Dry farming is a way to save water and help decrease crop competition during the typical growing seasons. Additionally, they collect their apple by-product and donate it to be used for biogas. The process for making cider is also very simple, all it takes is the ground apples to sit in the champagne yeast and ferment, no heat required.
Golden State Cider is a family-owned business that was started by a husband and wife Jolie Devoto and Hunter Wade who made cider from their family's organic apple farm in Sonoma, California. Currently, they keep their distribution limited to primarily California but also are sold in Washington, Oregon, and one distributor in Nevada. Keeping their manufacturing and distribution relatively local is a great way to keep down their carbon footprint. They also are a pretty transparent company, in which you can find each farm they source their apples from on their website, all of which are pretty small family-owned farms throughout the pacific northwest.