LAFAYETTE, NY — They started with apples in 1911, moved into sweet cider in the 1970s, then made a big jump into alcoholic beverages at the start of the 21st Century.
Now Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards, through its 1911 Established beverage brand, is launching its version of canned cocktails. That’s one of the fast-growing trends in the alcohol business.
1911′s Honeycrisp Cocktail and Strawberry Lemonade Cocktail make their debut Saturday, June 1, during a launch party / concert from 5 to 8 p.m. at its Apple Hill Campus, 2708 Lords Hill Road (Route 80) in LaFayette. The concert features the Mere Mortals.
Tickets are $10 and include a can of the new cocktails or a non-alcoholic drink for those under 21. Buy tickets.
Both canned cocktails will be distributed statewide starting next week, said company president Eddie Brennan.
Both drinks start with a base of vodka distilled at the 1911 distillery on Route 20. They are 8 percent alcohol and come in 355-mililiter cans.
— The Honeycrisp Cocktail starts with a flavored product — 1911 Honeycrisp Vodka — mixed with Beak & Skiff fresh apple cider and lemonade.
“This flavor was inspired by a favorite cocktail that we serve in our 1911 Tasting Room — The Orchard Palmer,” the 1911 write-up on the cocktail says. “It was also in large part inspired by 3rd generation family member, Marshall Skiff. He worked among the apple trees into his nineties, and he loved nothing more than his family and the orchard. Our salt-of-the-earth grandfather also appreciated a good cocktail, especially one made with fresh apple cider from our orchard.”
— The Strawberry Lemonade Cocktail starts with 1911 Original Vodka, which is unflavored and is the distillery’s oldest product. It’s then mixed with strawberries, lemonade and a dash of mint.
“No need for mixers or garnishes. We’ve captured the taste of perfectly ripe strawberries, fresh lemonade and a hint of dash of mint flavor to bring summer to the palm of your hand. We spiked it with our 1911 Original Vodka for good measure.”
Beak & Skiff is Central New York’s biggest apple orchard, and its Apple Campus site is a huge visitor attraction in the fall. In 2015 and 2017, Beak & Skiff was named America’s No. 1 apple orchard in polls of USA Today readers.
In recent years, its has built a strong following for its summer concert series. The canned cocktails will be featured throughout this year’s concert programs.
Canned cocktails have become popular across the country in recent years. The first to debut in New York state was Disco Lemonade, produced by the Life of Reilley Distilling Co. on Route 20 just east of Cazenovia. Owner Ben Reilley sold the brand to a Kentucky-based spirits business late last year.
For a while, Disco Lemonade was packaged at 1911′s production facility.
Other Upstate New York companies have joined the canned cocktail trend, including Southern Tier Distilling, the spirits division of Southern Tier Brewing Co. near Jamestown.
The canned cocktails are the latest new venture for 1911 Established. Its first alcohol products were hard cider and apple wine, starting in 2001. Its distillery opened in 2009.
Last year, it debuted a 1911 Bourbon, along with a barrel-aged hard cider and an apple brandy / cider called Pommeau.