It’s no secret North Carolina is a talked-about destination when it comes to craft beer, with 400-plus breweries and brewpubs. But the Tar Heel State is also seeing another drink rapidly gain popularity: cider.
The rise in cideries in North Carolina seems fitting, as our state ranks seventh in yearly apple production. Many of those apples come out of Henderson County, which produces more than two-thirds of all apples grown here. Head out to one of these cidery tasting rooms to experience this burgeoning scene in North Carolina.
1 Bull City Ciderworks
1 Bull City CiderworksDurhamSee on map
Locals have been, well, bullish on this cidery since it opened in 2013. While Off Main provides a crisp and drinkable offering, dig into your Southern roots and try Sweet Carolina, which is infused with local honey. Can’t make up your mind? Try a flight, and don’t forget to check out the rotating seasonal and small batch offerings. And visitors across the state can rejoice – Bull City also has locations in Greensboro, Cary (outside Raleigh), Wilmington and Lexington.
2 Red Clay Ciderworks
2 Red Clay CiderworksCharlotteSee on map
The Queen City’s first cidery opened to mass fanfare in 2015. When visiting the taproom (open Wednesday through Sunday), seek out Red Clay’s crisp Queen City Common and the aptly named The South End, named after the neighborhood where the cidery is located. There’s also always a seasonal offering or two, and Red Clay wows with its jalapeno pineapple cider in the summer or chai-spiced pumpkin cider in the fall.
3 McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks
3 McRitchie Winery and CiderworksThurmondSee on map
Wine and cider enthusiasts get the best of both worlds at McRitchie, which boasts bountiful vineyards and also sources handpicked, fresh apples via the mountains in Wilkes County. McRitchie’s original ciders are served in two styles – dry and semisweet – and you can enjoy them onsite or take a bottle to go.
4 Urban Orchard Cider Co.
4 Urban Orchard Cider Co.AshevilleSee on map
Just like the city where it resides, there’s no shortage of selection at Urban Orchard. First, of course, is the cider, which ranges from staples Sweet English and Dry Ridge to the more adventurous choice of Sidra del Diablo, featuring fresh habanero peppers and vanilla. Urban Orchard’s two taprooms in Asheville offer year-round and seasonal ciders, along with guest bottles as well. Pair your favorite cider with a variety of local meat/cheese plates or baked goods to cap off your visit (at the West location only).
5 Bold Rock’s Mills River Cidery
5 Bold Rock’s Mills River CideryMills RiverSee on map
About 20 minutes from downtown Asheville, the Mills River Cidery offers an inviting patio and an expansive tasting room to enjoy any of the award-winning hard ciders, seltzers, tea and lemonade. Kid- and dog-friendly, it's open every day of the week for a refreshing break.
6 Black Mountain Cider & Mead
6 Black Mountain Cider & MeadBlack MountainSee on map
Hidden in an old furniture factory among the Blue Ridge Mountains, Black Mountain Cider & Mead invites you to sample beverages that are created with fresh local flavors and traditional wisdom. In addition to classic small-batch ciders, expect to find mead – a fermented honey beverage – made with flavors such as coffee, pistachio, sweet potato, beets and more. The flagship is Pomona, a tantalizing cider that has a perfect dryness to it.
7 Noble Cider
7 Noble CiderAshevilleSee on map
Noble prides itself on making pure hard cider “from tree to tap.” The popularity in this cidery grew so much that it's expanded to two locations, including a taproom in West Asheville currently open Wednesday through Sunday. Noble’s most popular year-round offerings are The Standard Bearer and The Village Tart, a cherry-infused cider like none other.
Apple & Cider Festivals
During spring, visit the Cider, Wine & Dine Weekend in Hendersonville to taste local ciders and enjoy great music in our state's largest apple-producing county. If you're in the area in fall, the North Carolina Apple Festival celebrates all things apples and features more than a dozen local growers.