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Willow Oaks Craft Ciders

Willow Oaks Craft Ciders

Eric Rice and Lori Leitzel Rice craft their farmhouse style cider from certified organic, American heirloom apples on their 35 acre farm in Middletown, Maryland.Organic pears, blueberries, black currants and other fruits make tasty additions to Willow Oaks’ ciders. Fabulous fruit, unique terroir and small batch barrel fermentation let the flavors and aroma of the fruit shine through to a crisp, dry finish.

Our History

Eric Rice planted the first apples on the slopes of the cornfields at Country Pleasures Farm 30 years ago. Blueberries, black currants, tart cherries, pears followed. Stretching those first spindly roots into the soil here was no easy task. There were no certified organic farms in Maryland, nor any certified orchards in the Mid-Atlantic. Eric planted the orchard, grew the farm and helped grow the Maryland organic program.

When Eric first inquired about making hard cider on the farm there was no infrastructure to support it. Cider was not wine or beer, there was no way to license us. Thanks to the hard work of the Maryland Wineries Association there is a vibrant and growing community for us.

​Thank you to the kind folks at Millstone Cellars for their mentorship. We hope to make you proud.

Distillery Lane Ciderworks

Our handcrafted hard ciders are naturally tart, aromatic, and have a distinctive mouth-feel. Dry to off-dry, our ciders are clean and refreshing, but never sweet, featuring unique European and vintage American cider apples grown on our family-owned orchard.

About The Author

Kevin Smith

A veteran reporter of more than two decades, Kevin Smith has been covering the Maryland Beer industry since 2005 when he covered the business beat for the Frederick Gazette. Since early 2007, he has covered Maryland for the Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, and penned columns about craft beer for, The Frederick News-Post,, and Maryland Life Magazine. He has also written about the wine industry in the Mid-Atlantic region for The Frederick Gazette, Wine Business Monthly, and Hagerstown Magazine. Kevin currently lives in Western Frederick County with his wife, two daughters, and his goofy dog, Fezzik.

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