He also helped develop Coopersmith’s Pub and Brewery in downtown Fort Collins, Colorado. “I’m an old beer guy,” he says. “I got interested in cider twenty-plus years ago. Kathe, my wife, and I went to the Western Slope in the early 90s looking to open a cider company, but the timing wasn’t right.”
The early 90s was when craft brewing was getting going, and craft ciders were few and far between, according to the Pages. During that time they were frequent beer-curious visitors in the Northwest. They discovered endless parallels between the various flavor profiles in beers and ciders, and one can only imagine that these trips inspired Colorado Cider’s Grasshop-ah dry hopped cider, often described as “a gateway cider for beer lovers.”
"In 2009 we looked into [opening a cider company] again and took some more trips to the Northwest,” says Page. “We got to know some people in Oregon and Washington who were making craft ciders, and we made the assessment that it would finally take off in the United States.”
Brad and Kathe’s assessment was correct—America has a new craving for cider, and more and more cider makers are opening across the country. In 2011, the Pages helped to form the Rocky Mountain Cider Association that now has fifteen members in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. To date, the American Hard Cider Directory & Resource lists more than eighty cider companies nationwide.
It seems this craving for cider is commonly found among homebrewers. Gary Glass, the director of the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), was cited last month in a press release explaining, “In a survey we conducted of homebrewers last year, we found that 38 percent of our members have made cider. That percentage is up from 33 percent reported by members in a 2010 survey.”
As craft cider finds a place for itself among homebrewers and professional brewers alike, that place seems to be in cohorts with craft beer. Like many cider companies today, the Colorado Cider Company is a member of its state’s brewers guild. “Cider is technically a wine,” Colorado Cider Company's Head Cider Maker Kelly Reitan says, “but we enjoy it being poured alongside beer.”