Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Strong Drink

Richard Read is many things: husband, father, British transplant, medical scientist and cider lover. That love launched a pastime, making the dry alcoholic English style drink from home that he pined for and couldn't find here, and then a side business. Read started Griffin Cider Works three years ago, operating out of the basement below J.W. Dover a retailer of beer and wine making supplies, in Westlake. He's bottling and kegging a variety of hard ciders, all made with select blends of Ohio apples, that are sold at bars, restaurants, and shops around northeast Ohio.

In the next few days, the busy brewer is releasing a very special product. Called Strong Woman, it's a pink colored, cherry flavored cider. He's producing it in limited quantity and it will only be available in March and October. Read wants it to sell very well but he doesn't expect to pocket a penny. Profits will go to The HOPE Program at Lakewood Hospital that provides free mammograms to uninsured women. "Everyone," Read tells me, " knows someone who's been affected by this disease. My own grandmother was a breast cancer survivor. I wanted to do something to help and decided I could use my cider to raise awareness and money."

You can be among the first to taste Strong Woman at the noon release party Saturday, March 2, at West Point Market in Akron , where they'll also be pouring Griffin Original, Burley Man, and his new Honey Oak cider. Strong Woman will also be available, while supplies last, at most Heinens and Giant Eagle stores, and at Melt Bar and Grilled.

Read's plan is to do this fund-raiser annually and his dream is that other local beer brewers and wine makers join him in the effort. In the meantime we can all do our part by buying a bottle and lifting a glass.

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