COURTESY: COLIN BISHOP PHOTOGRAPHY - Cider business will be on the table as industry expects gather in Portland for CiderCon, Feb. 2-6.This week in Bread & Brew, a Southeast Portland neighborhood pub is taking local to the extreme, and the Rose City will play host to cider geeks from across the nation.

For the month of February, the Lucky Horseshoe Lounge on Southeast Clinton Street will play only Portland bands and tap only beer and cider made within five miles of the bar.

“The density of breweries on Portland’s east side is truly amazing, especially considering the consistently high quality of the products,” says Anne Marie DiStefano, who opened the Lucky Horseshoe 16 months ago after writing this very Bread & Brew column in the Portland Tribune for a decade.

“Customers always respond well when we end our description of a beer with, ‘It’s made just down the street,’” she adds.

The Lucky Horseshoe’s Five Mile February is part of their mission to showcase local beer, cider, wine and spirits.

Their cocktail list focuses on classics using local spirits, including the Burnside Manhattan (Eastside Distilling), Aviation Negroni (House Spirits) and Marionberry Sour (Wild Roots).

The launch party for Five Mile February is set for 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Lucky Horseshoe Lounge, 2524 S.E. Clinton St.

DJ Towncraft will spin tunes exclusively from Portland bands. Beer samples will be available from the starting lineup, including: Gigantic Brewing IPA (1.3 miles away), Ecliptic Phobos Single Hop Red (4.7 miles), Baerlic Brewing Noble Oatmeal Stout (1 mile), Upright #4 Saison (3.4 miles) and Hopworks Hard Cider (.4 miles).

Rotating through the month will be Commons, Base Camp Brewing, Burnside Brewing, Cider Riot, and their newest neighbor, Grixsen Brewing, which just opened its doors at 1001 S.E. Division.

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Just in time for Groundhog Day, Portland for the first time will host CiderCon, the annual gathering of industry experts nationwide, Feb. 2-6.

Organized by the U.S. Association of Cider Makers, it’s geared toward industry but includes a lineup of “OutsideCon” events, listed at

So far, 137 CiderCon attendees are registered, a third of them from Oregon.

The day after CiderCon marks history, it’s the start of the nation’s first-ever cider accreditation program.

Similar to beer’s Cicerone program and wine’s Court of Master Sommeliers programs, the Cider Certification Program is designed for distributors, servers and others who are interested in becoming trained experts on all things cider.

Among the topics explored: understanding cider and cider styles; apples and fermentation; cider flavor and sensory evaluation; and keeping, pairing and serving cider.

The program will be led by Eric West, editor of the weekly newsletter Cider Guide and a writer for Cidercraft magazine. He also directs the Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition in Michigan.

Interestingly enough, the cider industry has seen a trend in the past year that they’re still digging into.

While cider sales peaked in growth in 2012 and 2013 with a 90 percent increase in sales, that slowed to 75 percent in 2014 and dropped even further to 11 percent in 2015.

Still, cider brought in $520 million in sales last year nationally.

The data comes from Nielsen, which tracks retail sales of alcoholic beverages, with a large concentration on commercial supermarket brands like Angry Orchard, Johnny Appleseed and Woodchuck.

What’s not included in the data, as noted in a recent Cider Journal article, is the growth of craft cider and regional cider brands.

That’s where Portland and Pacific Northwest brands have been rising, according to the Northwest Cider Association.

While the association isn’t able to track hard sales data, they just released a 2015 year-end survey that showed “positive growth” when looking at distribution, new cideries and tasting rooms.

Specifically, more than 33 cider establishments — including tap rooms, cideries and tasting rooms — have opened across the Northwest in the past two years, which the association sees as unprecedented expansion.

The trajectory is continuing: five tasting rooms are slated to open early this year in the region, including Portland-based Cider Riot opening a tasting room and second production facility.

In addition, the association’s survey found that many local craft cideries are experimenting with new varieties and styles, many producing more than 15 to 20 products each year.

Some include infusions of Northwest ingredients like ginger, berries, apricot and hops.

Many also are going beyond the glass with cider food products, like gourmet vinegars and barbecue sauce.

And Northwest cider makers are expanding distribution to countries including Norway, Japan and Singapore.

“We’re seeing a true sense of cooperation as several cideries are expanding to offer various other Northwest ciders on tap and even sell their cider in their onsite bottle shops,” says Sherrye Wyatt, Northwest Cider Association executive director.

The association’s membership included 31 cidermakers in 2013 and is now at 70.

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