In addition to the many talented new artists that made first-time appearances at Newport Folk Festival this year, a brand new beverage with Aquidneck Island ties made its debut.

Shacksbury Cider– a modern-style, surprisingly non-sweet cider – was a hit backstage and in the beer gardens at Newport Folk Festival.  We had a chance to chat with Luke Schmuecker, a partner of the Vermont-based business at Newport Folk Festival on Sunday to learn more about this refreshing beverage. Schmuecker has close ties to Newport, he’s a ’06 Salve Regina graduate and lived in Newport for eight years.

“When we got the opportunity to do Folk Festival, it was like – yes – whatever it takes,” Schmuecker said. “The premiere of Citrus Spritz is at the Folk Festival – this is exactly the type of the environment we created it for.”

The 48 kegs they prepared for Newport Folk Festival is the most cider they’ve produced for an event and their biggest event to date, Shmuecker told What’sUpNewp over the weekend.

The Citrus Spritz, like Shacksbury’s Dry and Semi-Dry Ciders, is produced and canned in Vergennes, VT with several different “lost apple” varietals grown at Sunrise Orchards. “The company was actually started foraging for wild apples,” Schmuecker said. “We set out to find high tannin, high acidity apples in Vermont.”

While a tincture of rose and grapefruit definitely gives the Citrus Spritz a summer feel, it’s the unique apples that makes all the difference in making it a superior, not-too-sweet cider. “If you’re using desert fruit for cider, it’s like using grocery store grapes to make wine,” he said. “Cider doesn’t have to be sweet. We only have 3 grams of sugar in the Citrus Spritz. Our ciders are very dry and they’re meant to work well with food.”

If all goes to plan, Schmuecker said he hopes their cider will be on tap again next year at Newport Folk Festival, until then look for it at Bridge Liquors and Bellevue Wine & Spirits.

For more info on Shacksbury, visit

Shacksbury Cider Spritz


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