IOWA CITY, Iowa — Wilson’s Orchard, a local apple producer and hard cider maker, has acquired the Sutliff Hard Cider brand with plans to broaden its varieties offered and expand their products into retail distribution throughout the state of Iowa. The merger is expected to help Wilson’s Orchard develop a broader distribution and expand its team.
Established in 2002, Sutliff Cider was Iowa’s first brand of craft hard cider. The company pioneered the use of local apples and aging in wooden barrels, producing a very distinctive and refreshing cider. Over the years, Sutliff Cider’s marque cider has become a staple in bars and restaurants across the state, reintroducing many Iowans to hard apple cider.
Paul Rasch, who owns Wilson’s Orchard with his wife, sees this merger as an opportunity to expand a cider brand with a strong local affinity.
“Sutliff Hard Cider is a pioneering brand that has cultivated a loyal following in Iowa,” said Rasch. “We aim to build on that tradition and build an even richer Sutliff Cider brand by adding our own apples and cider-making experience.”
Rasch sees a very fruitful future for the brand. Beginning in September, Wilson’s will launch Sutliff Cider, which can now be found mainly on local taps, into 12 oz cans for sale in retail. Eventually, the brand will add other apple-centric ciders to its portfolio.
“Historically, Americans used to drink more hard cider than any other alcohol, and Iowa grows exceptionally flavorful apples,” he said. “So, our task is simply to turn this great fruit into the product it wants to be and get it to consumers.”
About Wilson’s Orchard
Wilson’s Orchard, is a U-Pick apple orchard and cider operation located just north of Iowa City. The orchard grows over 120 varieties of apples, and is open to the public August 1st– October 31st. In 2015, Wilson’s Orchard began crafting their very own hard ciders using a wide range of apples and other fruits. Today, their ciders are sold year-round throughout the state of Iowa.