AT AWESTRUCK, THEIR NAME is their mission – sip by sip, glass by glass, their aim is to craft hard ciders that will leave you, well…awestruck. They have an insatiable thirst for tweaking, testing, and experimenting with apple varietals, yeast species, and botanical ingredients to push the boundaries of what hard cider can be.
Awestruck’s three flagships are each unique, yet approachable. Hibiscus Ginger is rose-colored, fizzy and subtly spicy, like a tropical ginger ale; Lavender Hops is crafted by steeping cider with pounds and pounds of culinary dried lavender and citrusy hop varietals, at once aromatic and juicy; and Dry Apple + Oak captures the essence of artisanal fermentation—clean, faintly woody, subtly fruity, and deeply evocative of early autumn in upstate New York.
After years working as contractors to fund their voracious appetite for travel and new taste discovery, Casey Vitti and Patti Wilcox returned to their hometown of Walton, NY, in 2013. Inspired by the abundance of fresh, delicious apples throughout the Hudson Valley, they created Awestruck to blend their home region’s apple growing heritage with their favorite flavors from around the world.
From its humble roots in a 2,000-square-foot renovated section of a local lumberyard in Walton, Awestruck has grown from being entirely operated by the two founders into an industrious team of ten employees, collaboratively working on all aspects – from building the bar in the taproom, to composing the next social media post, to hand-labeling each of their 750ml bottles. Market Manager Jessica Hubbard says it best: “How many people get to say that they can work hard and play hard, all while on the clock?!”
Awestruck’s true passion is creating limited and seasonal offerings, experimenting with new ingredients, and satisfying their thirst to produce unique tastes and experiences. They work with local orchardists and farmers and are proud to make all their ciders from pure, fresh-pressed New York state apples—never from concentrate, and never watered down.
As part of their recent expansion, Awestruck opened a taproom at their 8,000-square-foot production facility in Sidney, NY. What started with an ice bucket on a rickety wooden table just a few years ago has evolved into a cozy bar-restaurant with seventeen rotating taps of unique and limited offerings, along with a variety of local craft beers. At the taproom you can taste one-off ciders that are made individually, one keg at a time. You can sit aboard a 1970s school bus, situated inside adjacent to the bar, and compose magnetic poetry on the walls and ceiling. You can also enjoy a small, comfort-food menu designed to pair with Awestruck ciders and satisfy hungry customers.
Awestruck is excited about their new flavor launches this year, including the best-selling seasonal, Hometown Homicider, made with apples, pumpkins, spices, and cider aged nine months in local Bourbon barrels. And (spoiler alert), they have a few other surprises up their sleeves, including two brand new, ultra-limited can releases!
Stay in the loop with everything Awestruck by following them on Facebook and Instagram where you’ll find updates like expanded summer Tap Room hours and special events. There is also information on where to find Awestruck in stores and at farmers markets and festivals throughout the year.
8 Winkler Road
Sidney, NY 13838
New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas
$8.00, flight of (4) 5oz ciders
$10.00 per person; email to schedule group tours
Patricia Willcox and Casey Vitti
Bridget Rice, Sales Manager
Jessica Hubbard, Market Manager
Matthew Glynn, Taproom Manager