There is something delicious happening in Bandon. Something sweet, but not too sweet; something tart, but not too tart; something steeped in family history and tradition yet on the cutting edge. Gary and Karen Gant, and their son and daughter-in-law Trevor and Mary Gant, have put their heads and fruits together to develop the best hard cranberry-apple cider around called Bandon Rain Cider Company. The Gants have been working on their cider for three years and unveiled it at the 2016 Cranberry Festival where it received a very warm welcome.

Gary, a 3rdgeneration Bandon cranberry grower, was first inspired to try his hand at hard cider when he considered the loaded apple trees on his small 7-acre farm and wondered what he could do with them all. He decided to grind and press them and make hard apple cider. He made it, and, he says, it was horrible. You couldn’t drink it. It was just bad.

After a year of aging, however, the cider was almost palatable, according to Mary. After talking with Gary about the cider, Trevor and Mary, who were working in the TV industry in Los Angeles, became interested in the idea. They went to Trader Joe’s, bought some bottles of apple cider to ferment. They brought some up to Bandon, and after tasting it, the family agreed that they were definitely on to something.

Over the next couple of years, they worked on finding just the right blend of cranberry and apple juice to make a well-balanced unfiltered hard cider. Gary and Mary attended a class taught by cider guru Peter Mitchell and brought a sample of their latest version for him to judge at the end of class. The cider masters first comment was “It’s pink.” After the Gants explained it was due to the cranberries, he smelled, swirled, and sipped, shook his head, again exclaimed, “It’s pink!” He went on to say that he could taste the cranberry and the apple, the astringency was nice, and it had a long taste and was well-balanced. His final comments were, “Well done. I would buy this. I would drink this.” They knew then that they were on the right track.

After the class, the Gants asked for feedback from many different people, continuing to fine-tune the cider to find the right apple/cranberry balance. Everyone had their own opinions; some thought it was too sweet, others too tart, but most people liked it.

When they decided that they would make cider on a larger scale and try to market it, they had to get serious about commitment. Gary got to work renovating two buildings on his farm, and Trevor and Mary left their jobs in LA to work on cider full time in Bandon.

Their hard work has paid off in spades. The cider has only been on the market for several years now, and it has been received extremely well among the locals and visitors. People from all over were able to try it at the 2016 Cranberry Festival and at Cycle Oregon, where it was very well-received. And the rest is history.

They’ve continued to grow substantially since then, their cider being served in many restaurants and bars around Bandon and broader Oregon. They feature many cider flavors available beyond their original and are always developing new and seasonal ciders. In 2020, they opened a taproom in Old Town Bandon on Hwy 101, which is always family friendly, and dog-friendly when the outside patio is open.

There’s no question that the economy has shifted in Bandon. A town that was once dominated by fishing and timber with some cranberries and cheese thrown in there now largely revolves around tourism and golf. We are extremely happy and excited to see the injection of a new industry that people will come to associate with our small coastal town: cranberry-apple hard cider by the name of Bandon Rain.

To keep up with the latest about Bandon Rain Cider Company, follow them on Facebook and Instagram, and visit their website.

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