More than any other drinks category, cider’s rise has been driven by women. After all, women account for roughly 50% of U.S. cider drinkers, compared to only around 30% of craft beer drinkers. The craft cider movement was pioneered by women from the start, with cidermakers like Autumn Stoscheck of Eve’s Cidery, Ellen Cavalli of Tilted Shed, and Eleanor Léger of Eden Specialty Ciders leading the charge.
So it’s no surprise that Vermont-based Léger would be part of a special Women’s History Month cider called Nevertheless, in collaboration with Anxo Cidery in Washington, D.C. “Eleanor is someone I’ve looked up to for a long time,” says Anxo co-owner Rachel Fitz.
The Eden-Anxo collaboration began in 2019, as a test run of 200 cases, under the name Nevertheless, We Persisted—a nod to Elizabeth Warren. This year, the name has been shortened, with about 1,200 cases produced, and a portion of each sale donated to Planned Parenthood (the cider is currently available for purchase with direct shipping from Anxo's website). “We’re both super committed to using cider as a platform for making good things happen,” Léger says. “The plan is to keep doing this each year and to keep getting bigger and bigger.”
The partnership grew out of a series of women’s events that Fitz, a former social worker, has hosted at Anxo’s cider bar locations—the latest one included cidermakers like Nicole Leibon (formerly of Farnum Hill, now at Silo Distillery) and Courtney Mailley (of Blue Bee in Richmond). “Our dream for this is to create a scholarship for a woman, particularly a woman of color, to attend a cidermaking school,” Fitz says.
Beyond good deeds, however, Nevertheless still needs to deliver as a cider. And it does. It’s got solid orchard pedigree: made from blend of heirloom apples from Eden’s partner orchards in Vermont—varieties such as Ashmead’s Kernel, Roxbury Russet, and Spitzenburg, along with Gold Rush and Northern Spy from Anxo’s partner orchards in Adams County, Pennsylvania. Nevertheless is fermented in stainless steel, with native yeasts, and canned unfiltered.
The bright pink can features what Fitz calls “our fierce mascot,” which is Basadere, a mythical Basque “wild woman of the woods” and the companion of the Basajaun, or Anxo, which the cider is named after.
Mascot aside, the tastes here is more subtle than wild, with flavor that veer toward herbal and floral than fruity, with fresh aromas of lavender, lily, and lemon verbena. Among Anxo’s offerings, it’s one of the more mineral-driven ciders, with a cool creaminess on the finish. Above all, the cider is dry, crisp, and refreshing—a dangerously gulpable cider for those first warm afternoons of springtime. It could be the perfect cider to crack open once we’re (hopefully) allowed outside again.