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From Our Editors
The path that led to Red Clay Ciderworks began in Sicily, nine years before the cidery launched. There, Jay Bradish, who was stationed with the US Navy, was invited by a handful of local families to assist in the community's annual winemaking process. He felt such a strong sense of satisfaction creating a libation from scratch that he decided to try his hand at home-brewing beer when he returned to the states. This hobby eventually led him and his wife, Deanna, to experiment with the apple trees in her parents' small orchard. With the help of friends, they picked and processed bushels of apples by hand before finally deciding to open up shop years later.
Today, the Bradishes harness that same communal spirit to churn out a number of crisp, delicious hard ciders at their Charlotte outpost. They only use local North Carolina apples—all of which are naturally gluten-free—to create their six kinds of cider, which range from a traditional, semi-dry style to a bourbon-infused variety aged in barrels. And those who'd like the get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how they do it can bop in for one of the weekly tours, which run Friday–Sunday at the cidery.