A few telltale signs that fall has officially begun in Warwick: weekend traffic, tourists and the release of Naked Flock’s pumpkin hard cider.
It’s the brand’s most popular seasonal release, according to sales manager Dylan Hull.
And while Naked Flock’s signature featherless goose has appeared on cans since 2012, production of Applewood Winery’s hard cider goes all the way back to 1994, when Dylan’s father, Johnathan Hull, started the family business.
“Original cider was the first thing ever produced - but under the Applewood name, Applewood Hard Cider,” explained Hull.
Applewood rebranded the cider arm of the business to Naked Flock in 2012 when they started wholesaling and distributing the suds. At the time, “cider was still on the rise,” said Hull, and they wanted the brand to tie something new - hard cider - to something old.
A little Warwick lore
The Naked Flock name was ultimately inspired by a tale in the Warwick Historical Society’s database about a local pastor who was friends with author Herman Melville in the 1800s.
“One day, Melville brought back some seeds from China for the pastor’s flower garden,” Hull said with a laugh. “As it turns out, they were poppy seeds - and yes, those kinds of poppies.
“The geese broke into the garden one day and ate all the poppies and got a little stoned and passed out. The church folk and the town folk thought the geese were dead ... so they plucked their feathers getting ready to make some blankets and pillows and whatnot.
“And of course, after being plucked, the geese woke up and started stumbling around the town totally naked.”
Stripped down cider
Naked Flock’s brews are made with 100% New York State apples, without any added sugar or artificial flavoring. Local apples from the likes of Och’s Orchards in Warwick and Roe’s Orchards in Chester are used when possible.
“We strive to make cider in an approachable style that can be enjoyed by the cider nerds and the novice cider drinkers alike,” said Hull.