Apple Knocker Hard Cider

Day after day of driving past apple orchards takes a winemaker in a whole new direction.

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Brad Genung, winemaker and owner of Owl Creek Vineyard, is always on the lookout for his next big idea.

One of them happened while driving between the family farm and his winery in Southern Illinois. Brad noticed acre after acre of apple orchards, and an idea was born: Apple Knocker Hard Cider.

Brad spent the next few years studying under cider masters, a pilgrimage that took him to Cornell University and as far away as Great Britain to learn from the best. Back in Southern Illinois, Brad began sourcing apples from the century-old orchards that dot the Shawnee Hills region.

Ask Brad about his cider and he’ll describe it as “a cousin of craft brewing and winemaking.” He uses hops — like a beer brewer — but he brews his hard cider in oak barrels, like wine. The result hearkens back to the sipping ciders from America’s past— not the “sweet stuff” that floods the market today. Taste the difference for yourself. There’s a seasonal lineup of Apple Knocker Hard Cider on tap in the tasting room at Owl Creek Vineyard, located on the scenic Shawnee Hills Wine Trail.

Discover more Illinois artisans at Illinois Made.


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