Category Archives: History

Happy 4th Birthday, Blue Toad!

Happy Birthday to us! It’s hard to believe that Blue Toad Hard Cider has been around for four years, and we’ve had a blast.

A lot has happened in four years:

  • We’ve opened tasting rooms in both New York and Virginia.
  • We have been on tap in dozens of local bars and restaurants.
  • We have shipped to countless addresses for you to enjoy at home.
  • We’ve canned thousands and thousands of gallons of cider to put on the shelf at local retailers.
  • We continue to develop new flavors each season.
  • We’ve hosted dozens of local bands in our tasting rooms.
  • We’ve set up tents and booths and countless events across the state and region.
  • We’ve met awesome people who have supported our mission of making delicious cider from local ingredients!

Blue Toad was just a dream for a couple of small town kids and to see it become a reality has been an absolute joy. We cannot thank you, our loyal customers and fans, for helping us to grow and for continuing to drink Blue Toad Hard Cider.

‘s to four years of Blue Toad and to many, many more!  

The History of Cider

Hard cider has grown enormously in popularity in the past decade. But did you realize that the fermented beverage has been around since the Romans ruled an empire? There is evidence that dates cider back to 6500 BC in Asian and European cultures. The idea of fermenting apples has been traced back to around 55 BC. Way back then, the water was so unsanitary that people actually drank more cider than they did water. Around the sixth century brewers became a skilled profession around Europe, making beer drinks as well as cider. Rumor is that between the 13th and 17th centuries, Europeans were even paid in cider.

Normandy became a big player in the cider-making business around the 16th century. It was here that folks started playing around with different types of apples – some, of course, tasted much better than others. In other places in Europe, as well as colonial America, cider became an important part of the culture.

It is the Pilgrims that are credited with bringing apples with them on their voyage to the Americas. The seeds of the apples were planted and orchards grew. The apples were then purposely fermented to create a cider drink because it was safe and sanitary. In fact, most of the orchards are said to have been planted not for apple consumption, but for cider making.

Over the years, the popularity of cider ebbed and flowed with the different groups of immigrants who came to America. When prohibition was enacted in the 1920s, apple orchards were cut down in hopes that cider supplies would die with them. When prohibition was repealed, cider was slow to make a comeback since many apple orchards were wiped out.

Ciders vary by region in the United States. New England ciders are typically simple and sweet or barrel aged for a sharper flavor. California apples are usually more bitter and sometimes even sparkling. While Blue Toad is made in both New York and Virginia, we source only local apples for every batch of cider. That means, if you’re drinking a Flower City Blonde in Rochester, the apples used are from the Rochester area. If you’re drinking a Blue Ridge Blonde in Nelson County, you’re drinking apples from the area.

In the past decade or so, cider has seen a resurgence – and we are proud that Blue Toad Hard Cider is part of that! Currently hard cider is only about 1% of the beverage market, but is growing faster than any other type of drink out there, and is expected to keep growing. There are typically hard cider drink options in most bars and restaurants these days.

Be sure to ask your next bartender or server if they have any fresh Blue Toad Hard Cider on tap!    

  Resources: “Cider.” How Products Are Made. . 28 Mar. 2017 <>. Lehault, C. (2013). Go Back in Time with New England Style Ciders. Kerrigan, William (2012).  

Behind the Scenes: Blue Toad Hard Cider

  You know our cider, but we want you to get to know us! The people behind the big blue toad logo on our cans. Why Blue Toad? Why New York and Virginia? Why hard cider? The story starts in the small town of Scottsville, New York where the three owners of Blue Toad Hard Cider grew up. Scottsville is a quintessential small town – population of around 2,000 people, one high school with graduating classes of under 100 people, one stoplight, and a 15 minute drive to the closest grocery store. Yes, every small town cliché is true about Scottsville, but none rings more true than the fact that everyone knows everyone. Todd, Scott, and Greg grew up in Scottsville, New York. They all went to high school together at Wheatland-Chili High School and took on careers in different fields. After settling down and starting families of their own, a “desire to consume high quality alcoholic beverages” got the wheels churning and ultimately, Blue Toad Hard Cider was born. Why Blue Toad? There’s been about a million stories swirling around as to why Todd is actually referred to as Toad, one of which includes a misspelling on his birth certificate, but I doubt we’ll ever know the true story. In any case, Todd was raised as “Toad” – he and his family settled down in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Todd and his wife, Kim, opened a pub nearby and decided on the name Blue Toad – a play off of his name and the beautiful mountains nearby. Meanwhile, Scott was in Scottsville making batches of beer in his barn while Greg was making cider in his garage, so they decided to combine their efforts. When the idea to start a hard cider business came up, the name Blue Toad felt natural since the brand already existed. Why New York and Virginia?  After reading some of our story, you can see why New York and Virginia are natural choices for our cider. Our owners have roots in the Rochester, New York and Central Virginia regions. Since it is so important for us to have locally sourced apples included in every hard cider we produce, we’ve even named similar ciders differently to pay homage to their region. For example, in Rochester, our blonde cider is named Flower City Blonde and features a blend of local Golden Delicious, Empire and Crispin apples. Meanwhile, in Virginia, our Blonde is called Blue Ridge Blonde featuring locally sourced Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples. We currently have five tasting rooms – 3 in New York, and 2 in Virginia. You can find more information on our locations here. You can also find our cider in Wegmans stores in both regions. Why hard cider? Well, why not? It’s easy to drink, it’s fun to make and to experiment new flavors, plus our gluten free friends can enjoy it. Also, hard cider is one of the fastest growing beverages in the past decade. So, friends, you want it, we’ll make it!