The Jamison family loves hard cider. So much so that after they moved to Charleston from Virginia and couldn’t find any good hard ciders here, they decided to make their own. The family’s inaugural three flavor line of Ship’s Wheel hard cider officially releases on Thurs. Aug. 24.

But how, you might be wondering, is a Charleston family producing hard apple cider in a city with, well, few if any apples?

“We found an apple supplier in upstate New York,” says co-owner John Jamison who runs the business with his parents and siblings.

As Ship’s Wheel’s website explains, “Good cider apples aren’t exactly abundant in the sandy soils of the Lowcountry,” so the family tracked down an orchard outside of Syracuse and it’s there that Ship’s Wheel is produced from tree to bottle, then shipped down south. “Rather than settle for the stuff from concentrate, we decided to bring a taste of the orchard to our home in Charleston,” the site continues.

“I think for us, it’s something we like and we think other people will like around here,” John continues. “We wanted to have this lower sugar content, good drinkable cider and we couldn’t find. We noticed there wasn’t that much cider going around down here.” For all our 19 (and growing) breweries, to the best of our knowledge, Ship’s Wheel cider is the first locally run cider business in the city (the nearest cider business is Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill in York) and the third in the state according to Jamison.

To launch, the family has three flavors: Original Blend, Dry-Hopped, and Summer Splash which is flavored with grapefruit. Ship’s Wheel is working with Bear Island Distribution and as of now bottles can be found at 616 where they retail for $5 a bottle, as well as Snapper Jack’s, and soon D’Allesandro’s.

To kick off Ship’s Wheel’s entry into the Charleston market, the Jamison family is hosting a launch party for the public at Kudu Coffee and Craft Beer on Aug. 26 at 6 p.m.

“We’ll have all three flavors on draft and we’ll be there to answer any questions,” says John. Rebel Taqueria will also be onsite selling tacos. And musician and CP contributor Matthew Dobie will be performing live music with a jazz trio. Check Facebook for more information.

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