The growth of Western New York’s home cider industry, along with continued consumer acceptance of the adult beverage, has prompted the Erie County Fair to add a home hard cider competition to its Competitive Exhibits program. Beginning Monday April 1st and continuing until Friday, April 5th, cider making hobbyists will have the opportunity to submit their hard cider for judging. Once named the 2019 “Erie County Fair Best In Show Cider,” the winning home hard cider will receive a gold medal for excelling and then be professionally reproduced by BlackBird Cider Works for sale during the Fair.
“Hard cider has become a tasty, gluten free beverage option for many who are looking for an alternative to beer,” said Paula Smith, Manager of Competitive Exhibits. “The Erie County Fair is proud to partner with Barker, New York’s BlackBird Cider Works to increase the visibility of cider in the region and to honor the region’s talented home cider makers.”
A $20 entry fee allows home cider makers to submit hard ciders in categorical styles that include modern cider, fruit cider, hop cider, spiced cider, wood-aged cider and an “anything goes” class. Any New York State resident is eligible to enter the competition. Judging is scheduled to take place Saturday, April 27th inside the Fair’s Ag-Grange Building. Top ciders will be selected through a blind tasting panel made up of two, cider industry knowledgeable, judges.
Home hard cider makers interested in entering the competition can find complete rules and guidelines on the Erie County Fair’s website at https://bit.ly/2tWfURm. Entries can be dropped off on Monday, April 1st through Friday, April 5th between 9am and 5pm (with a copy of the entry form) to the Main Office of the Fairgrounds OR the Buffalo Cider Hall located at 155 Chandler Street on April 4th or 5th between the hours of 4p and 10p.
The judging of hard cider is just one of the competitions held annually by the Erie County Fair. In 2019, over 13,000 entries are expected to be received and judged by the Fair’s Competitive Exhibits Office. The wide range of ribbon winning categories include agriculture, conservation and creative arts, among others. Entry information for all other categories will be available online starting May 1st.
About the Erie County Fair
The Erie County Agricultural Society is a private not-for-profit membership organization. Established in 1819, the Society is the oldest civic organization in Western New York. The mission of the Erie County Agricultural Society (ECAS), sponsors of the Erie County Fair, is to preserve and enhance, by educational endeavors, the agricultural and historical legacy of New York State. The Fair strives to fulfill appropriate aspects of the agricultural, educational, entertainment and recreational needs of Western New York. The 180th Erie County Fair will be held August 7th – 18th, 2019 (www.ECFair.org).
About BlackBird Cider Works
Producer of award-winning hard ciders sourced from Western New York grown apples. Founded in 2006 by Scott Donovan after the purchase of a commercial apple orchard in the Town of Somerset, Niagara County, New York. In 2011 the first production run of cider was completed with the opening of the BlackBird Cider Works tasting room in March of 2012. BlackBird Cider Works is distributed in seven states in locally by Try-It Distributing. In 2018 Donovan opened the Buffalo Cider Hall located on Chandler Street in the historic Black Rock neighborhood of Buffalo. (www.blackbirdciders.com)