We’re an experience. Drink it up. Drink it in.

It’s early in the morning. I’m hunched over a bin of apples, scooping them up and tossing them into the scratter. The pomace will then be pressed, and what we call our liquid gold—apple juice—will be on its way to becoming a Courthouse Creek cider. It is tedious, labor intensive work. We don’t press all of our apples, as we are lucky that one of our apple growers—Silver Creek—has a massive press that keeps almost every Virginia cidery flush with juice.

Anyway, with my head inside the bin, an aroma wafts up and strikes me hard—licorice, a touch of honey, and what I can only describe as a scent of ambrosia. Drink of the gods? Sweet nectar? Ambrosia fruit salad? I don’t know, but it was devastatingly good, and it stopped me cold.

I grab a handful of the apples and shove them in my face. Pure magic. In my best emulation of some John Hughes character—think the Brian Johnson character in the Breakfast Club, when he was stoned (I was never the cool kid)—I utter, “This, this is the shit!” Mind you. I’m alone in the cidery. I’ve probably got Pandora’s yacht rock radio station playing “Sailing,” by Christopher Cross. I told you, I’m not the cool kid.

But. It really is the shit, in the best possible way. And then it hits me. This is what we make at Courthouse Creek—an experience. Like sniffing dreamy ambrosia apples in the morning, our ciders are meant to be part of your experiences. There when you celebrate a wedding or other special occasion. Those moments in between time—like when you visit with an old friend, or when you look at your lover in just the right light and realize, yet again, how amazing and wonderful he or she is. And certainly, can’t forget those unforgettable meals with friends and family. Our cider is meant to be part of these life experiences, and a compliment to them, if you will.

We are not a commodity—we are not a mass-produced, unspecialized product. Don’t get me wrong, we are also not some pretentious product that is so highbrow that even we can’t stand ourselves. Nope. That attitude is not the shit. All I can tell you is that we work hard to produce Virginia cider, naturally. We do not add acids, sugar, water, sulfites, unnatural flavorings—we don’t add any bullshit. We do use only Virginia apples. We do strive for taste, and a deeper relationship between cider and food. We can only hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor, and pair it with a great experience.

Eric Cioffi, co-owner of Courthouse Creek Cider, checking out the Northern Spy apples.