Hard Core Cider Tour: Experience the Sparkle (Updated 2019)

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Hard Core Cider Tour
Official Sponsors 2019

2019 Hard Code Cider Tour Schedule

  • Santa Cruz

    June 29, 2019

  • Santa Barbara

    Sept 21, 2019

  • San Diego

    Oct 12, 2019

  • San Luis Obispo

    Oct. 26, 2019

Nine Ways the Hard Core Cider Tour Creates a Sparkling Guest Experience that You Don't Want to Miss 

There are oodles of beer festivals, wine-tasting events, and even a bubbly fest or two. But there aren’t many events devoted to quality hard cider and the people who make it possible.

And that’s a shame. Because gathering hard cider makers in a singular event leads to a downright flavor-filled experience.

Fortunately for California cider lovers, the Hard Core Cider Tour has arrived.

A Festival With a Different Flavor

The Hard Core Cider Tour is not your everyday beer fest, simply swapping cider for suds. No, this event is different and it’s why we, The Flavor Team, are such fans and want to share it with you.

So, what is it about the Hard Core Cider Tour that makes for such a great event?

In two words: guest experience.

And that is all because of the Hard Core Cider Tour founder and Chief Cider Squad Leader Albert Martinez.

Martinez cut his event teeth on putting together top-notch tequila-centered events. Lucky for all of us cider fans, he shifted his organizational talents to create the Hard Core Cider Tour and the quality experience he envisioned for the event centered on the world of craft hard cider.


Albert Martinez, founder of the Hard Core Cider Tour, ensures every detail is about the guest experience.

“Every aspect of the Hard Core Cider Tour is focused on keeping the experience guest-centric,” explained Martinez. “From the moment they purchase their tickets online to the time they head for the exit when the event is over, I want our guests to have enjoyed one of the best experiences ever.”

And it’s not just the guests who enjoy this event. Martinez is always excited to invite new cider makers to participate in the event and appreciates those who have been on the tour previously. He strives to create an environment and an event where the cider makers have a good venue to share their ciders with both newcomers and devoted fans of hard cider.

He’s also instituted a unique participation model for the cider makers, so it’s a mutually beneficial experience and event. Showcasing great ciders in a fun environment allows both the cider makers and the Hard Core Cider Tour to gain new fans and strengthen their relationships with existing fans.

Here are a few reasons we believe this event is so worthwhile, and why you’ll want to be sure to attend this year’s Hard Core Cider Tour in any of its locations.

How the Cider Tour Sparkles

1. Minimal lines and wait times. Because Martinez purposely maintains a good ratio of vendors to guests, there are few lines for guests waiting to taste cider. Unlike some events, wait time for a tasting is usually just a few minutes, and if one booth is busy, just try to another and come back. The lines ebb and flow and it’s always possible to find a cider maker waiting to pour you their best cider.

2. Reasonable prices. Considering there is no limit (except your wisdom in self-limiting) in the numbers of ciders you can taste, the ticket price is a great value. You can try all 20+ cider makers (more than one cider per maker), and revisit those you like the best. You’re not limited to a handful of tastes.

There's never too long a wait for the next sample of hard cider, which is exactly the intention of the guest experience fostered by event founder and organizer, Albert Martinez.

3. Fun, low-key crowd. Guests are happy, smiling, gracious, and thoughtful, whether they’re joining with another group to play a jumbo lawn game, taking turns at the port-o-potties, placing orders at the food trucks, or sharing tips on the cider makers you have to try next. No doubt this stems from the overall experience of the event.
4. Great music. Each year, Martinez finds an awesome group that will add fun and uplifting energy to the event, and he books them for all the tour stops. Guests can dance, sit and listen, or have the beat as the backdrop of their cider tasting experience. Guests love the music and the band gets exposure to new potential fans. Win-win.
5. Food trucks, free water, and shade. You know those events where the line for the food truck wraps around like a boa constrictor? And even though it’s an outdoor event, there’s no free water? And people are about to keel over from heat stroke because there’s no shade? Hard Core Cider Tour is none of that. There are ample food trucks, a booth with self-serve free water, and plenty of shade and seating to relax and get out of the sun.

Redemption Brass band playing at a recent Hard Core Cider Tour.
Jumbo lawn games draw fierce competition among cider revelers.

6. Variety of ciders. Each stop on the Hard Core Cider Tour brings cider fans a great range of ciders, many of which may be new to guests. This leads to a fun afternoon of setting out on a cider-tasting adventure as you work your way through the booths. From ciders made in wine and bourbon barrels to add flavor, to fruit infusions, and different styles of yeasts, you’ll be able to taste unique hand-crafted ciders and may find a new favorite.
7. Well-run team. Martinez hires his Cider Crew for the season, so the cohesive team creates the smoothly running event. From the entrance tent where guests pick up their mini cider tasting mugs to the Cider Store tent where guests can buy their favorite ciders before they head home, the team provides guest service backed up with familiarity and knowledge of what to do.

Just one of the Cider Squads (groups of eight or more) having a great time and proudly wearing their limited edition t-shirts.

8. Appreciating guests with special touches. Martinez has developed a great idea: the Cider Squad ticket package. Groups of eight or more became Cider Squad members and receive a free limited-edition t-shirt and group pricing. For Designated Drivers, he often provides a nonalcoholic beverage and a snack. He implemented The Core Store in response to feedback from guests saying they would enjoy buying cider to take home.

9. Supporting the community. Each stop on the Hard Core Cider Tour benefits a local nonprofit in the community. Often, these are cycling-oriented groups that foster access, education, and awareness. For example, the beneficiary of the SLO Tour is Bike SLO County.

All this adds up to a truly sparkling and enjoyable experience.

Experience the Cider Tour Sparkle for Yourself

If you’ve been to the Hard Core Cider Tour, you know how fun it is. And like us, you’re anticipating the Tour’s stop in your city.

If you haven’t yet attended the Hard Core Cider Tour, you’re in for a treat. Do yourself a favor and get your tickets soon.

You’ll have a great time, and we look forward to meeting you there.

Until then, keep the hard cider vibe going: explore new tastes, have fun, and enjoy life.

The Flavor Team had such a great time at last year's Hard Core Cider Tour that we volunteered to do pre-event publicity to spread the word about this fun day to encourage many others to experience the sparkle for themselves.

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About Great Flavors
Central Coast

Our mission: to help you create your own unique journey of exploration on the Central Coast
Our guiding light: to build the Central Coast’s most comprehensive online travel magazine and resource guide
Our passion: to foster and encourage a vibrant community of others who believe in living a life filled with great flavors

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