We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: There are plenty of reasons to visit the Gettysburg area, and in our humble opinion, a trip to Hauser Estate (also home of the Jack’s Hard Cider headquarters) is high on the list. But in case you live too far away or a weekend getaway just isn’t on your radar right now, let us show you around our cidery via a picture tour.
For us, it all starts with the apples. Did you know that we’ve been growing our own apples for over 50 years? Why look elsewhere for the most important ingredient in hard cider when we reside in one of the apple capitals of the world? Indeed, Biglerville (where we’re located) and the greater Adams County are known for being major players in the Pennsylvania apple-growing economy. Biglerville is home to the National Apple Museum and the annual National Apple Harvest Festival, and Adams County orchards produce more than five million bushels of apples each year … so, yeah, we take apples pretty darn seriously around these parts!
Our farm is located about 3 miles away from our production facility and is home to 400 acres of orchards growing between 15–25 varieties of apples. We harvest all throughout the spring, summer and fall months, with an extra push, of course, during the autumn harvest season. The harvested apples are loaded into bins and brought over to the production facility. In addition to growing apples, the farm is also home to a charming little cabin and a pond that’s perfect for rowing!
When the apples are trucked the few miles over to our production facility, they’re unloaded in the rear part of our facility that we call the “crush pad.” This is a covered area with a loading dock, where we store the apples and keep our press. Our press is on the larger side and can press about three tons (!) of juice at a time. The press is also used for grapes grown for the wine made at Hauser Estate.
The juice then goes into stainless steel tanks, which range from 5,000 to 25,000 gallons. That’s where fermentation happens—inside those tanks in in our temperature-controlled production facility. The juice hangs out for between 6 and 12 weeks, and after that, the juice is filtered and barrel aged, canned, bottled or kegged. Our canning line is in the same facility, so everything is efficient. Our bottling line is used for wines, too, but don’t fret: Everything is cleaned within in an inch of its life to avoid cross-contamination.
There’s also a kitchen located in the back of the production facility, as well as an office and a small lab. That’s where our head cider maker, Joe Cuneo-Tomasi, can test sugar, store the yeast and do quality control.
Because our facility is built into a hill, the production facility is on the ground floor and the tasting room is on the top. In the middle is an area that we call the mezzanine, which is really just a large room that we use for dry and cold storage. This is where all of our kegs are kept in walk-in coolers.
The Tasting Room
The Tasting Room at Hauser Estate is a total gem. It’s completely glassed in, with incredible views of the bucolic scenery surrounding us. With 100 seats inside and plentiful seating outside on our pet-friendly patio, there’s ample space for big groups as well as intimate dates. This is where you can taste flights of the freshest Jack’s Hard Cider available anywhere, including small-batch and seasonal releases that don’t get canned or distributed. There are also local craft beers and Hauser Estate wines on the menu to enjoy, too. We like to keep things social, so there are plenty of events on our calendar, especially on weekends.
So there you have it! A virtual tour of Jack’s Hard Cider. We hope that you do come visit us some time—pictures may be worth a thousand words, but nothing beats coming to hang out with us in person!
Jack’s Hard Cider — Produced from Pennsylvania Apples. Pressed On-Site. Never from Concentrate.
Photos, top to bottom: Mary Bigham; Polly Patrono-Carlson (next three photos); Mary Bigham; Gerry Michaels; Mary Bigham