The first batch of Rinker's Apple Cider was created in 1986 by Dudley Rinker. To this day, the blend of apples he uses to get the famous flavor is kept a secret (even from his children). But the fact that the cider is 100% juice with no added sugar or preservatives is no secret.
The cider business took off from the very beginning over 20 years ago. For the first years, production doubled or tripled every year. The process of flash pasteurization (bringing the cider up to a high temperature quickly to kill potential bacteria) was brought to the operation in 1997 before it was made a requirement by the FDA.
Most of the apples Mr. Rinker uses are bought from local suppliers to have an adequate supply and a good variety for the mix. In fact, there have been years when more apples have been bought for cider than have been raised by Rinker Orchards. 2010 production was up 17% over 2009 (between 50,000-100,000 gallons) making it the best production year yet, and it is all produced on site at Rinker Orchards. The cider has been sold by vendors such as Wal-Mart and Food Lion, and is currently sold at the orchard, in Martin's Food Stores and in farm markets throughout the Shenandoah Valley, including Charlottesville. Requests have been made for the cider all up and down the coast, including Georgia and Alabama.
The cider reputation has expanded greatly over the past 20 years, and customers will go out of their way to stock up on a few gallons to freeze for the winter or a half gallon to give as a gift. It hasn't been uncommon for Mr. Rinker to walk into a new place and have strangers walk up to him after seeing the logo on his shirt and mention how much they enjoy the cider and visiting the orchard. The number of people calling this past year to ask where they can purchase the cider has been unusually strong, and it's been the same for Pick Your Own. Rinker Orchards has also had many news stories published on the operations and even a spread in the popular magazine, Southern Living.
Where would you buy some delicious Rinker's Apple Cider? Check our "Where To Buy" page!