Lost Boy Cider opened in June 2019. Founded by Tristan Wright, who got into cider after discovering a gluten allergy. Lost Boy Cider renovated a nearly 6,000-square-foot warehouse space in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood for the city’s first Virginia Farm inert-licensed production facility and tasting room.
Lost Boy owner Tristan Wright has had quite the journey with cider. He fell for the apple libation during a trip to Ireland in 2010, but abandoned the fruity beverage for beer and whiskey upon his return to the states. A devastating soy and gluten allergy ultimately forced Wright to give up alcohol all together. Once cleared by a physician, Wright took small steps to reintroduce wine and other cocktails into his diet, but they almost always fell short, thus leading him to pursue a career in cider making. The D.C.-based crafter is now certified by both Cornell University’s Viticulture and Enology program and Oregon State University’s cider production school.
Lost Boy operates a 2,000-square-foot tasting room with a beautiful bar made from a maple tree that fell near Winchester. Lost Boy’s taproom, can hold 79 people, with 12 taps for experimental draft-only ciders.with three 60-barrel tanks and three 15-barrel tanks fashioned by Vance Metal Fabricators. Custom blends of juice are trucked in via tanker truck. Wright also maintain a small Speidel press for juicing apples that he harvests from eight trees he planted on the premises.
A row of saplings outside the new Lost Boy Cider facility form a line tracing a path between the business (in an old print shop) and Alexandria’s jail. the area may look like any urban arboreal array. They are, in fact, part of what makes Lost Boy a farm winery.
The saplings that Wright planted were semi-dwarf golden delicious varieties from Stark Brothers, a Mississippi Delta-based company that provides heritage apple varieties. The variety of apple trees descend from trees that Thomas Jefferson’s orchard manager cultivated. According to the website of the Virginia Association of Cider Makers, Jefferson harvested 18 varieties of apple at Monticello, relying on two of those strains – Hewes’ Crabapple and Taliaferro – for making cider. Wright plans to make a varietal from the Hewes Crabapple, a once-common strain used to add an acidic bite to ciders. These self-pollinating and hearty apple trees will reach approximately nine feet in height when fully grown and will produce roughly 80 gallons of juice. The inaugural machinery-free harvest for the trees is planned to take place in fall 2020.
Lost Boy sources all their apples from Virginia, 90% from the Shenandoah Valley. Wright is leasing 16 acres from the Glaize family of Winchester, fourth-generation apple growers who’ve installed a press and are now offering custom blends of ten cider varietals, including rare Virginian and European bitter-sweets.
Virginia Ciderworks provides the area’s first homegrown craft cidery supported by a new population of taste enthusiasts. The region on whole offers one of the country’s most progressive stances on new food and drink and we’re ready to introduce you to something very old, but new again. Lost Boy Cider is here.