One of the most overlooked areas of cider making seems like such an obvious one. Getting the juice out of the apple requires a large investment in expensive equipment. For this reason, many of the smaller craft cider makers have chosen to outsource this step in production to Summer Snow Juice.
The Russo family behind Summer Snow Juice have been growing fruit for over 50 years. For the last 20 years, they have diversified into juicing the fruit. They have carved out a niche of single variety juices supplying a wide range of clients from cafes to wholesalers.
You all know I like the weird stories behind companies’ names. The Russo’s were Celebrating Australia Day, typically summers hottest day. When a storm came through. Hail stones ripped through the orchard destroying that year’s crop. The hail lay thick on the ground like a devastating summer snow. To ensure that their fruit would never go to waste again they invested in a juicing plant.
As the cider market exploded in Australia, Summer Snow Juice saw another opportunity. As they were supplying large quantities of the single variety, small-scale cider makers used their juice to supplement their own locally grown fruit. Others used 100% Summer Snow Juice.
Today Summer Snow is offering a full service. Potentially you could send your truckload of apples ready to be juiced. At that point, Summer Snow would take over, crush the apples and filtering if needed. Now you could either take the juice home in a tanker or if you have a recipe ready to go, it can go through the automated tanks on site. Your cider maker will receive a daily email with updates on all the vital stats, temperature, ph, standard gravity. It’s basically cider making by remote control. A bottling line is in the planning stage at the moment so very soon you will hand over a recipe to Summer Snow Juice and get back a cider ready to distribute.
I decided to give it a go on a very …. very small-scale. Two 12L batches to be precise. I’ve got a simple recipe in both plastic barrels. I’ve got a 50/50 split of Pink Ladies and Granny Smith’s juice. The only difference between the fermenting vessels is the yeast I’m using. Both are traditional beer yeasts, one French, the other is English.
I have fermented them at cellar temperature for a week. At that point, the standard gravity has levelled off.
Next came the bottling. I’ve decided to have some bottles with 1 yeast, some bottles with the other yeast and what ever is left over will be blended together. Because there is still a little sugar left in the juice I’m hoping it will ferment out in the bottle and produce a sparkling cider. I’m using some beer yeast just to see how the flavours differ.
Check back in soon to see the results of this little experiment.