More than a decade ago, the Big B’s organic juice company tapped into an opportunity to fill a niche in a growing industry: hard ciders.

On Oct. 26, Big B’s welcomed hundreds of hard cider lovers to the eighth annual Cider Festival at Delicious Orchards, located on Highway 133 between Hotchkiss and Paonia. More than a dozen cider producers from as near as Hotchkiss, Cedaredge and Palisade, and as far away as Denver, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts and Texas poured their best, crispest and tastiest ciders during the Grand Tasting. Festival goers enjoyed barbecue, fresh-pressed cider and locally grown and produced products; local and regional bands provided a variety of music, and local non-profits raised funds for their causes.

Founded in 1973 and purchased by the Schwartz family in 2002, Big B’s has produced its growing line of hard ciders for more than a decade. The festival began as a way to draw attention to a beverage that was quickly growing in popularity both locally and nationally. Big B’s added hard cider to its repertoire as a value-added product to their famous Big B’s apple, pear and other juices. Soon after, hard cider gained national attention.

With so many craft breweries and beer festivals popping up, and so few cideries, said Jeff Schwartz in a 2018 interview, “We wanted to show off this new product that was getting popular.”

Today, Big B’s is busy year-round fulfilling its mission of making “the highest quality, best tasting juice, hard cider and vinegar.” In doing so it supports sustainable agriculture while making a positive impact on its customers, suppliers, employees, community and families.

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