Business

Wilson's Orchard buys Sutliff Hard Cider

Paul Rasch, owner and chief apple officer of Wilson’s Orchard, picks an apple from a tree in Wilson’s commercial orchard in Solon on Oct. 4, 2016. Rasch, 57, is a fourth generation apple farmer originally from Michigan, who came to Iowa City in 2006 after running a commercial apple business in China for more than a Decade. Rasch bought Wilson’s Orchard in 2009 from Robert ‘Chug’ Wilson and has since expanded the u-pick farm to include a commercial operation that includes cider, hard cider, pies, pumpkins, turnovers, doughnuts, vinegar, jam and more. (Liz Zabel/The Gazette)
Paul Rasch, owner and chief apple officer of Wilson’s Orchard, picks an apple from a tree in Wilson’s commercial orchard in Solon on Oct. 4, 2016. Rasch, 57, is a fourth generation apple farmer originally from Michigan, who came to Iowa City in 2006 after running a commercial apple business in China for more than a Decade. Rasch bought Wilson’s Orchard in 2009 from Robert ‘Chug’ Wilson and has since expanded the u-pick farm to include a commercial operation that includes cider, hard cider, pies, pumpkins, turnovers, doughnuts, vinegar, jam and more. (Liz Zabel/The Gazette)
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Wilson’s Orchard in Iowa City has purchased the Sutliff Hard Cider brand and intends to roll it out in 12-ounce cans in stores this month — possibly as early as this weekend.

“Sutliff Hard Cider is a pioneering brand that has cultivated a loyal following in Iowa,” said Paul Rasch, who along with Sara Goering owns Wilson’s Orchard, in a statement.

Sutliff Cider Co., started in 2002, remains owned and operated by Scott Ervin in Lisbon.

Wilson’s grows more than 120 varieties of apples on its U-pick orchard.

“We aim to build on that tradition and build an even richer Sutliff Cider brand by adding our own apples and cider-making experience,” Rasch said.

Other apple-centric ciders will be added later, the company said.

“Historically, Americans used to drink more hard cider than any other alcohol, and Iowa grows exceptionally flavorful apples,” Rasch said.

“So our task is simply to turn this great fruit into the product it wants to be and get it to consumers.”

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