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Hagley Museum & Wilmington Brew Works team up on a new cider

If you’re a cider lover, you’re probably going to love a new collaboration between Wilmington Brew Works and the Hagley Museum and Library.

The two have created a new cider -The Fruits of Eleutherian Mills

Delaware Public Media’s Kelli Steele recently spoke with Hagley’s director of Gardens and Horticulture Paul Orpello and Wilmington Brew Works’ cider maker Ryan Rice about the cider and their partnership on it.


Orpello explains how the two came together on the project.

“It came about through a couple of conversations - one with our Hagley historian speaking with the cider maker and VP of marketing there at the Brew Works. That was pre-COVID. And then that conversation kind of fizzled out," said Orpello."And I happened to run into John Fusco (the VP of marketing at Wilmington Brew Works) and we just got to talking. We talked about the orchard (at Hagley) and the abundance of fruit that is starting to come into fruition here.”  

Orpello says the initial result is The Fruits of Eleutherian Mills cider, made with sour cherries.

Rice calls it a bone dry, tart cider.

“There is practically zero sweetness to it whatsoever," said Rice. "But it has a nice tartness from the cherries with subtle cherry notes on the finish. I’d say it kinda drinks like a dry white wine than it does a beer.” 

This is the first collaboration between Hagley and Wilmington Brew Works. And Rice says it likely won’t be the last.

Orpello says the orchard at Eleutherian Mills was started by the du Pont family in 1804, with nearly 400 peach, pear, apple, plum and cherry tree varieties.

Rice says the orchard will soon have peaches that would work well for another cider.

He notes that the first cider is a limited run, available in 22-ounce bottles and on tap at the Wilmington Brew Works taproom.  Future batches are likely to show up at Hagley events.

Delaware Public Media' s arts coverage is made possible, in part, by support from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.