By Bryan Deyermond
Alabama has whiskey. California has wine. Maine has Moxie.
Yesterday, the state Senate voted to name apple cider as the Granite State's official beverage. New Hampshire joins 27 other states to have chosen at least one official beverage, but it's the first to select cider.
Dan Hicks, who owns Sunnycrest Farms in Londonderry, said he produces more than 1,000 gallons of cider every fall. Hicks said cider was a perfect choice for the state beverage, noting it represents the link between apples and New Hampshire.
"One of the things about cider being the state beverage is it has been around forever," he said.
Andy Mack Jr. can attest to that. His family has owned and operated Mack's Apples in Londonderry for more than three centuries.
Annually, Mack's Apples produces close to 8,000 gallons of cider. Mack said he held receipts from apple sales dating back to the early 1800s. He agreed cider was a perfect choice for New Hampshire, given the heritage of the beverage and the fruit it's produced from.
"I think New Hampshire is one of the centers of apple production in the Northeast," Mack said.
Twenty of the 28 states with designated beverages selected milk, making New Hampshire a minority in the world of state beverages. But most residents said they agreed with the Legislature's choice.
Eleanor Essary, 51, of Derry said cider is a great reflection of New Hampshire.
"Cider feels like home, and this is my home," Essary said.
Julie Phillips, 34, of Derry agreed.
"Cider's all right," Phillips said. "I don't like milk."
Joe Wall, 22, of Manchester said the selection was logical, given New Hampshire's history as an agricultural state.
"It makes sense," Wall said. "There are a lot of apple orchards and farms in the state."
Nothing against cider, but some residents thought state lawmakers might have a few more important things on their plates than choosing a state beverage.
The bill was drafted by Jaffrey Grade School students as a way for the state's younger residents to learn the legislative process.
"There are probably more important things they could be doing," said Kim Sobotka, 35, of Derry. "I think there can be other ways to teach kids about government."
Wall agreed the vote didn't really have a purpose, but said he appreciated the news.
"I think people sit around bored and name things," Wall said. "But it's interesting. I'm a fact person. I know all kinds of random facts. It's just something more to know."
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It's officially New Hampshire
Bird: purple finch
Flower: purple lilac
Wildflower: pink lady's slipper
Animal: whitetail deer
Amphibian: spotted newt
Freshwater fish: brook trout
Saltwater fish: striped bass
Gem: smoky quartz
Tree: white birch