Category: Cider

Last Call: The Columbia Room (Washington, D.C.)

Take a walk down Blagden Alley in Washington, D.C., and you might think you took a wrong turn. Could there really be a bar among the commercial alleyway’s unmarked brick buildings? Keep going, and liquid rewards await at The Columbia Room, Derek Brown’s temple to superbly crafted cocktails. The bar originally opened in 2010 as a 10-seat space within a speakeasy, and was reimagined in 2016 when Brown moved it to a 2,400-square-foot building in D.C.’s Shaw district. It’s now comprised of three distinct areas—the Tasting Room, Spirits Library, and Punch Garden—each offering a different experience. “I think the...

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The Crawl: Washington, D.C.

No matter which side of the aisle you’re on, politics in our nation’s capital can drive a person to drink. Fortunately, there are plenty of great places to do just that in Washington, D.C. The city was once known as the domain of buttoned-down bars and stodgy steakhouses, but thanks to an influx of millennials in recent years, D.C. has become a hotbed of epicurean innovation and variety. The District is also home to a vibrant craft brewing and distilling scene, so there are lots of intriguing local libations to explore.   U Street Corridor This historic neighborhood has...

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Inside Cider: Getting a Read on Cider

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. While true enough, a cover can often give the browsing buyer an indication of its content. Is it sporting an image of a couple swept up in a passionate kiss? Probably a romance. A bloody red thumbprint on a black background? Likely a novel of murderous suspense. The visual tips supplied by the publisher can quickly help a buyer sort through a store full of possibilities. Beverage packaging serves much the same function, giving consumers valuable clues to the nature of the liquid inside. In the world of wine...

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Taint Misbehavin’: Improving TCA testing methods to ensure cork quality

Cork has been the most preferred closure for wine bottles since its initial use in the mid-16th century (especially since, before cork, the alternatives were oil-soaked cloth or some sort of resin-coated lid). Wineries used it pretty much without question for 300 years. And why not? It came from a renewable resource, it was pliable, and it could be used to re-seal bottles. While it took a while for some technology (such as the corkscrew) to catch up, cork closures also proved to be a big hit with consumers. There’s no sound quite like that of a cork coming...

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Show Time: Cris Steller on getting the most from a trade show experience

Remember the adage, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it”? Cris Steller is a busy guy. Not only is he a founding partner of Dry Diggings Distillery, a growing venture located in California’s El Dorado Hills, he’s also executive director of the California Artisanal Distillers Guild (CADG). Steller came to the beverage industry nearly a decade ago after a career in association management—basically, helping businesses and nonprofits optimize their strengths via support services including educational programming, government relations, sales, marketing, and more. When asked about the drastic change in professional direction, he says, “I’d been living and working in Mexico for a time, where I started to learn about the tequila industry, and when I returned to California I needed a change.” Taking a leap of faith, Steller and partner Gordon Helm launched Dry Diggings in 2008, with a focus on using locally grown fruit and grains. Adam Stratton founded Amador Distillery in Jackson, Calif., in 2012; both operations were consolidated under the Aurum Sierra Inc. umbrella in 2015. As the company grew, Steller recognized a need for small distilleries across the state to align efforts for more effective governmental representation at the state level. In 2012, Dry Diggings became one of five charter members of CADG. “[A grassroots association] had been trying to get it off the ground for about 20 years,” he...

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