Today’s guest is someone I’ve been waiting to interview for a couple years now. Since I first started the podcast, he was high on my list, but for one reason after another, it always seemed like we should wait. We just didn’t know what we were waiting for, exactly.
Ryan Burk is the cidermaker for Angry Orchard, specifically running their new innovation cider house in Walden, NY. He was the former cidermaker at Virtue Cider in Fennville, Michigan. And before that, he was a homebrewer in Chicago. I met him just as he was transitioning from brewer to cidermaker, pouring some of Virtue’s earliest batches.
You may have seen GBH, and me in particular, take a keen interest in cider over the past couple years. We’ve written about E.Z. Orchards in Salem, Oregon, Rack and Cloth in Mosier, Oregon, and Virtue, among others—and visited many more. Ryan is the reason for all that. He held the door open for me. And in many ways, he still does. Thanks to Ryan, I was able to translate the many things I love about the most exquisite beers in the word, like Saison Dupont and Hill Farmstead, into an equally beautiful and delicious world of cider making. From there, I’ve ventured into natural and low-interventionist wine making as well. And it all started with Ryan.
He’s become one of my best friends in the world. In fact, the day this podcast episode was published, I was officiating his wedding to Eva Deitch—another name you might be familiar with, as she’s one of the many photographers GBH has collaborated with over the years. I was honored to be asked.
As part of Angry Orchard, Ryan also honored our business by asking us to design the labels for his personal collaborations with cidermakers all over the world that will start releasing in the coming months and years.
So it’s safe to say that my relationship with Ryan is one of the more profound I’ve had in my life. I’m forever thankful for the impact he’s had on me as a person, as a drinker, and the influence we’ve had on each other professionally. That’s what this whole business of GBH is about for me, and nowhere does it come true more than right here.