Getting the Love from Lonely Planet and Sunset Magazine

Lonley_planet_logoLast week Lonely Planet online posted a piece called “Exploring Washington’s Yakima Valley one beverage at a time.” We could not agree more! There are so many options now in the Valley, from ciders to wines.

Meanwhile, in the August issue of Sunset magazine the Valley was part of a road trip getaway story called “Northwest road trip: The ale and wine trail”.

sunset-cover-aug13-mOthers have written some great things about Yakima Valley adult beverages so check out this site for recent features. One of our favorites is the On the Hop Trail story penned by Yakima native Jackie Smith.

See you along the trail soon!

Hard Cider Has Long History in the USA

Hard cider (also called cider) is an alcoholic drink made from juices of apples, pears and other fruit. In the past it was a major beverage of choice in the USA .

In the early 1700s, New England produced more than 300,000 gallons of hard cider per year (nearly 20,000 kegs). Hard cider was popular in those days with folks drinking more than 30 gallons a year.

Hard cider continued to be a beverage of choice in America until the early 1900’s, when German and other immigrants brought with them a taste for beer.  Prohibition in the 1920s made production and distribution of alcohol illegal in the US. As a result, most cider orchards were converted to other crops and uses.

Today, hard cider consumption represents less than 2% of adult beverage consumed, but it is regaining popularity.  It’s  unique and refreshing, comes in many flavors and is a gluten-free alternative to beer. Sorry hop heads, hard cider is usually lower in calories than craft beers and high in antioxidants.

Here along the Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail we are lucky to have Tieton Cider Works.  Located about 30 minutes west of Downtown Yakima in apple orchards, Tieton Cider Works has a great story and produces an array of tasty, award winning ciders.  There are many outlets where you can find their products.  They’re also available at the Yakima Valley Visitor Information Center.

So here’s a toast to the return of hard cider. Let’s hope it continues to grow in popularity.

Craft Beers and Ciders at Wineries? Why not!

tieton-3There’s an old saying in the wine industry that it takes a lot of good beer to make great wine. Whether or not that is true, more Yakima Valley wineries are adding local craft beers and ciders to their offerings. It’s a welcome addition on these warm summer days here in Washington wine country.

Here are a few local wineries that have these cool frothy offerings and other adult beverages*:

GILBERT CELLARS in downtown Yakima: Last Friday I stopped by for some live music at Gilbert and was pleased to see they had ciders  from Tieton Cider Works and cold cans of Bale Breaker Brewing Company beer. Last May they hosted the debut of Glacier Basin Distillery brandy at their Cave operation, so maybe more will be in store with them at future Gilbert Cellars events.

NACHES HEIGHTS VINEYARDS  alternates between two local breweries at this time: Bale Breaker and Yakima Craft Brewing Company beers.

TASTING ROOM YAKIMA in Naches Heights is proudly serving Tieton Cider Works, Bale Breaker and Yakima Craft products.

MOJAVE at Desert Wind Winery in Prosser features local crafted beers.

So come visit us along the Spirits and Hops Trail and enjoy some wine, beer and cider!

If you come across any other Yakima Valley wineries that are regularly serving local craft beverages, let us know! We’ll add them to this blog. Email to

*Naturally the selection and offerings are subject to change, so check with the winery for updates. Enjoy!

Welcome to the Spirits & Hops Trail

BLOGGER: John Cooper, President & CEO

I’m excited to introduce you to our new website and marketing effort, the Spirits and Hops Trail.

So why did we create the site? The easy answer is why not? We have lots to brag about when it comes to adult beverages. Of course everyone knows the Valley is a top destination in Washington state for wine production and wineries. The Yakima Valley American Viticulture Area (AVA) is now 30 years old, we have more than 100 wineries open to the public and we produce nearly half of the wine grapes in the state. What folks may not know is that the Yakima Valley is the powerhouse in the hops world and an emerging destination for craft beers, cider and distilled beverages.

As for hops, think about this. No matter where you order a beer in the U.S., whether locally brewed or one of the big brands, there’s a 78% chance that the hops used for that frothy brew came from the Yakima Valley. Staggering but true. Our Valley is the second largest producer of hops IN THE WORLD, just behind Germany. Now there’s bragging rights!

So we developed this effort to let you know of the bounty we have here stemming from the hop industry, locally crafted ciders, beers and distilled drinks. The website and blog are also great ways for us to share the stories of the people and businesses that bring you these great products and share the latest ‘news and brews’. I invite you to come over to the Yakima Valley and join in the fun. Cheers!

Yakima Valley Tourism
10 N 8th Street
Yakima, WA 98901