Meet the Team: Chris Dayton, Our Pittsburgh Rep

Jack’s Hard Cider is proud to call Biglerville, Pennsylvania—not far from historic Gettysburg—our home. We’ve been growing our apples here for more than 50 years and love sharing our passion for cider with visitors to our tasting room.

We also distribute Jack’s to bars and retail outlets throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Georgia, Virginia and Washington, DC. If you live near Pittsburgh and drink our ciders, chances are Chris Dayton, our Pittsburgh rep, had something to do with getting that crisp and refreshing cider into your hands.

Chris’s journey to Jack’s actually started back in high school. He was a self-described “computer guy” who didn’t want to take a required home economics course. His counselor convinced him to take the class at the vo-tech school program because that allowed him to miss classes at his home high school. Chris’ teacher at the school was a chef and had a lot of passion for his craft. He took Chris under his wing and the rest, as they say, is history—cooking quickly became Chris’ passion, too. After graduation, Chris enrolled in the hotel and restaurant management program at Penn State.

During his time in college, Chris began home brewing beer as a hobby. He viewed it as an extension of being in the kitchen and cooking, working on recipes and using different ingredients to change the taste of the beers. He also craved learning everything he could about craft beer and spent free time exploring the extensive beer list at Zeno’s Pub and picking the brain of Dave Staab, a long-time craft beer enthusiast who Chris refers to as “a pioneer of the Central PA craft beer scene.”

After graduation, Chris moved to New York City and began working at Ulysses, an Irish pub, as a server. During his stint there, he continued to explore the burgeoning craft beverage scene. Chris began attending beer and food pairing events with New York’s first certified ciceroneSam Merritt, to further his knowledge, eventually becoming a certified beer server through the cicerone program.

In 2012, Chris decided to move home to the Pittsburgh area and began working for Vecenie Distributing Company, a wholesaler of beer, cider and speciality sodas in the Pittsburgh area. In fact, he fondly remembers when Jack’s Hard Cider entered the Pittsburgh market via Vecenie and getting his first taste of our product.

In 2014, Chris became a regional sales manager for Weyerbacher Brewing Company, overseeing the western PA and Ohio markets for the craft brewer. He also became a father during his stint there, making travel difficult for him.

Chris remembered back to his time working for Vecenie Distributing Company and his first tastes of Jack’s when he heard that we were looking for a rep for the Pittsburgh market.

We were lucky to welcome Chris to the Jack’s family in July 2015. He represents the Pittsburgh area for Jack’s now, and this allows him to focus on raising his young son when he isn’t making sure that Pittsburgh-area fans have enough Jack’s to drink. As a family-owned and family-focused business, we are thrilled to help Chris find that work-family balance.

Why does Chris love working for Jack’s? Chris shares, “I love the history and quality of the product. I want to help build a brand because people should take notice of this outstanding cider. I work for a company that deserves attention and I want to be a catalyst for that. It makes me feel good at the end of the day.” He continues, “Jack’s is great and I’m excited to see Pittsburgh come on board. People’s tastes are becoming more refined here. Pittsburgh used to be a shot and a macro beer kind of town.”

How does he introduce potential customers to our line of ciders? Chris loves to give samples and let the product speak for itself. We are the only cider available on the market that grows, harvests and presses our own fruit. Chris says, “There is no else in the Pittsburgh market doing that. Jack’s is part of the well-loved farm-to-table movement. Jack’s is only two hours away!”

What does the future hold for Jack’s Hard Cider in Pittsburgh? Chris says, “I want to do more cider education around the area and help get more people to understand the joy of craft cider. So many people are tied up in beer, but cider is America’s drink and there is a lot of history behind drinking cider in the United States. I’d like break the misunderstanding that all ciders are sweet and expose more drinkers to cider. It’s healthier for you to drink, too!”

Where can you meet Chris Dayton and get a taste of Jack’s Hard Cider? Follow him on Twitter for up-to-date information about where he’ll be sharing sips and information.

Learn more about Jack’s Hard Cider and explore our cider lineup here.

Jack’s Hard Cider — Produced from Pennsylvania Apples. Pressed On-Site. Never from Concentrate.

Ronna Dewey