Swilled Dog, West Virginia’s second commercial hard cider, has something for everyone.
Making hard cider is a common household tradition in Pendleton County. “There’s cider everywhere,” says Brad Glover, co-owner of the new Swilled Dog Hard Cider in Franklin. “I’ve been making small batches as a hobby for nine or 10 years. So, about a year ago, I approached everybody to see if they wanted to start a business.”
“Everybody” means his wife, Brooke, his two sisters and their husbands, and his parents—eight in total. “Everybody brings something different to the table.”
It was stressful ramping up from 5-gallon batches, he says. “But we knew we had something that would resonate with the people in West Virginia. We’re not making artisanal-type ciders or sugary-sweet ones—we think we’re pretty approachable for most people.”
Swilled Dog produces three flagship varieties year-round: the dry, tart Walk the Dog; the hopped Bunny Slope, this writer’s favorite; and Caramel Apple. Its summer 2017 seasonal offering is Island Vibes, with pineapple. Due later this year is West Virginia Scrumpy, made annually from any apples local residents donate in the fall. “You don’t know what it’s going to make and we’ll never make it again,” Glover says.
The family business has a strong commitment to West Virginia, sourcing as many of its apples in the state as possible and planting cider-specific trees every year. It also sets aside 1 percent of its profits for West Virginia causes.
Swilled Dog distributes to shops and restaurants across the state in 750 milliliter bottles and in kegs, and plans to eventually get into cans and go regional and national. swilleddog.com
Photo courtesy of Swilled Dog Hard Cider