As I made my rounds to procure the vital pieces for the holiday dinner (read – liquor and desserts), I heard an interesting piece on NPR that just seemed so appropriate. We’d noticed a change in the shelf considerations at the local grocery stores this fall. The craft beer selections have been creeping into the mass brew space for years. Depending on your choice of venue, the craft beer considerations may be in the lead.

Well, now the hard ciders are expanding. In years past, you’d find three or fewer selections for your hard cider-loving palate, now there’s an abundance of varietals in the mix. This NPR piece explains the process, the history and the growth of this segment of the beverage market.

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This comes from the transcript of the piece:

“Vintage Virginia Apples and Albemarle CiderWorks is just around the bend from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Virginia. “If we were crows we’d get there very shortly, but it would take us probably 20 minutes by the way the roads go,” says Charlotte Shelton, who with her brothers grows some 200 varieties of rare American apples here — fruit with names like Ashmead’s Kernel, Arkansas Black, Burford Red Flesh and Geneva Crab.

America’s Founding Fathers grew some of these varieties, more often for drinking than for eating.

“We think Mr. Jefferson would’ve been proud to put this on the table,” says Charlotte.

While she works the finances, her brother Chuck Shelton turns the fruit into cider.”

Check out the full audio clip on the NPR Site.