River+Wolf reviews

Review: 5 Star Cider Names

With the arrival of autumn, our minds turn to fall’s traditions – transforming pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, plucking apples from trees, and sipping away at heritage and modern ciders, both hard and soft. If you are contemplating starting a cidery, or need a name for your latest beverage, the bushel of noteworthy cider names below can provide inspiration.


Windfall Orchard Ice Cider was created almost two decades ago in Cornwall, Vermont, by orchardist, Brad Koehler. It’s made with more than 30 apple varieties, and each bottle contains the juice of 8 pounds of fruit.

Windfall Orchard was named in the 1950s by its original owner, a country doctor by the name of Ted Collier, who was inspired by a poem penned by his neighbor and local teacher, Robert Frost.

“Windfall” is used to describe an unexpected financial gain or benefit, as well as being a term to describe an unexpected bounty of fruit being blown from the tree. As such, the name, “Windfall Orchard”, evokes a sense of abundance and good fortune associated with a fruitful harvest, plus a connection to nature and the cycles of the seasons.

Takeaway: Poetry and naming are all about distillation of language and, as such, poetry, with its vivid imagery, memorable phrasing, and musical sounds, can be an excellent source for name inspiration. Even more, it can become part of a brand story or campaign.


Workman Dry is produced by Redbyrd Orchard in Finger Lakes, Upstate New York. This small, ecologically sustainable, heirloom orchard is located on the traditional Gayogohó:no nation lands of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. In honor of this, the orchard donates a portion of its proceeds to the Ganondagan State Historic Site to the Iroquois White Corn Project, and supports the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust.

The name, “Workman”, evokes a sense of the craftsmanship, quality, and hard work that goes into making cider. A nod to the cider-maker’s dedication to their craft and the care that they put into every step of the production process. For these reasons, the brand name signals a premium, artisanal product that is made with care and expertise.

Takeaway: Craftmanship is a common theme with many artisanal beverage and food brands, but it has reached saturation point. A word like “workman” points to craft, without using the word “craft” and thus is a more intriguing name.


Holly GoLightly is a low-alcohol cider produced by British craft cider maker, Celtic Marshes. This 8th generation producer employs what it calls a self-sustaining “pip to pint” production cycle which means its eight varieties of cider apples are picked, pressed, and blended at its 200-acre orchard.

The name, Holly GoLightly, is inspired by the character from Truman Capote’s novella, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. In both, Holly Golightly is an independent young woman who values her freedom, and refuses to be tied down by anyone or anything. Although seemingly free-spirited and fun-loving, Ms. Golightly is nevertheless deeply complex.

The same could be said of her namesake cider: while on the surface, Holly GoLightly appears to be a light and fruity low-alcohol drink, the process of blending several apple varieties results in a complex flavor profile.

Takeaway: Characters from movies and books can be a great source of naming inspiration. Starbucks, for example, comes from Herman Melville’s novel, “Moby Dick” – it is the name of the first mate on the Pequod. If you go this route, be sure, however, that the character name or source is in the public domain.


Wandering Aengus Ciderworks takes its name inspiration from The Song of the Wandering Aengus, a poem by the great Irish writer, William Butler Yeats. The poem is narrated by an elderly character named Aengus who is musing on the great love of his life. Listen to the gorgeous reading by Michael Gambon here and see if you can guess why the cidery chose Wandering Aengus their company moniker. The product also uses a beautiful image from the poem on the label of its Oaked Dry cider.


When naming, especially a small batch, handcrafted product, look for inspirations close to home. Tilted Shed took its inspiration from an old, slanted structure on the cidery’s property. Too, using the angle of a roofline rather than something more obvious like its color, led to a far more memorable name.

Takeaway: When naming, especially small batch and handcrafted products, go on an idea scavenger hunt close to home. But even if close to home, take a step off the beaten path. To borrow from Apple (bad pun intended), think different.


A shared universe is a kind of creative work that is developed through the contribution of many independent artists. The work of each artist can stand apart, but it also melds into the characters, world, and storyline of the larger project. Shared Universe fits the company’s concept that hard cider and beer live in a mutual space. It also speaks to the company’s collaborative culture.

Takeaway: Short phrases work well as names, especially when what they describe is a pitch-perfect match for a company’s goods and services. The metaphor of a shared universe is perfect for a cidery which teams up with wineries and breweries to create gluten-free cider. Also explore the terms of different industries – a lot of naming gold is buried there.


When we hear the word flannel we tend to think of sleepy or comfortable things like pajamas, sheets, and lumberjack shirts. But flannel is also an adjective used to describe someone who speaks in a tricky, ingratiating, or indistinct way. Flannel Mouth, a hard cider product of Blake’s Cidery, is a great example of how a negative word can lead to a highly memorable name.

Takeaway: Within the bounds of good taste, don’t be afraid to evoke non-positive associations with your name. Naming a perfume Poison, for example, is more arresting than just another pretty flower name.


The word “crisp” describes the quality of a fresh apple and suggests fresh and bracing weather. It is also a kind of apple. Crispin embraces all these meanings. It is also a boy’s name of Latin origin that means ‘curly haired’, an image which in turn, evokes the twisty roots of an apple tree.

Takeaway: There is a tendency in naming to always want the shortest form of a word for a name. But meaning should be your guide, not a few less letters. In this case, the added “curly” association of the name Crispin, makes it a better choice than Crisp.


Plumbing autumnal associations can lead to strong names but sidestepping the obvious, as Snowdrift does with its wintry image, can often lead to more original names.

Takeaway: A hard cider name relating to winter is a refreshing change from the many autumn-themed names. As brand guru Marty Neumeier quipped: “when everybody zigs, zag”.


Strongbow takes the mind immediately to the legendary folk character, William Tell. According to legend, William Tell was an expert marksman who shot an apple from his son’s head with an arrow (less well known is that he also assassinated a prominent tyrant in the Austrian House of Habsburg). The name could also point to Beleg Cúthalion, a character in JRR Tolkein’s Quenta Silmarillion whose name means “strong bow”.

Takeaway: To find unusual idea for names, dig deep into literature and lore. And if appropriate, think about using the meaning behind a character’s name or an object or action related to that individual rather than the name itself.


As a name, Apple Lantern works on two levels. First, it evokes the warm golden glow of cider, as the mind immediately envisions an apple lit from within (like a jack-o-lantern). It also scores points for its sonority.

Takeaway: When creating names always think about music. Many brands use alliteration, the repetition of consonants – e.g. Lululemon and Jamba Juice – to build catchy names. A less well-known, but equally powerful literary device, is assonance, the repetition of nearby vowels. This is the case with the repeated ‘a’ in ‘apple’ and ‘lantern’.


Soultree, a cidery based in British Columbia, Canada, holds fast to the old ways of cider making ways. And what is older than the soul? The Soul Tree is also a tree found in the modern myth, Star Wars. The idea of the soul and trees is further extended in the pack design which resembles an illuminated medieval manuscript or the twisting roots of a tree.

Takeaway: Literature and movies are great resources for naming inspiration. Just be careful, however, of potential trademark infringements. Soul Trees, or World Trees, abound in world myth and legend, so they are not exclusive to Star Wars.


Art & Science, an Oregon based winery and cidery, captures the two aspects of crafting these beverages – the undefinable creativity that goes into making things, and the idea of conscious process and careful craft, a concept conveyed by the word “science.

Takeaway: Handcrafted items, whether foods, beverages, or objects, are art forms. But to ensure quality and consistency across product lines, a carefully structured process must be adhered to. An ampersand name like Art & Science speaks to these two different messages in a succinct and elegant way.


Eve is the English female name which finds its origin in the Hebrew name Chavah, a name that means to breathe, to live, or give life to something. So, while Eve’s Cidery initially conjures up an image of a naked lady plucking an apple from the Tree of Knowledge, it has other relevant associations. Interesting aside: the Hebrew Bible never really mentions an apple. That idea, immortalized in centuries of art, came by way of St. Jerome who translated the Biblical word ‘peri’ (meaning fruit) as ‘malus’. Now the interesting part: ‘malus’ has two distinct meanings in Latin: as an adjective it means bad or evil, whereas as a noun, it means apple.

Takeaway: When using a human name for a company or product name, be sure to investigate the meanings behind the name. In general, etymology (the study of the origins of words),  is a rich resource for naming.


The best names are strong in meaning and music. Citizen Cider, with its alliterative ‘c’ (a repeated nearby consonant) is not only sonically pleasing but it speaks to the company’s vision: to bring cider to the people.

Takeaway: Think in terms of both sound and sense when naming. Think visually too. Citizen Cider, with its repeated ‘ci’ at the beginning of each of the name’s two words, creates appealing symmetry.