Sundog Cider – Hand crafted and Powered by the Sun in the Hudson Valley

Sundog Cider - Hand crafted and Powered by the Sun

How does an installer of solar panels and a manufacturer of magnetic products come up with the idea to make hard cider? For Jody Rael, who had been making fruit wines for many years, a light bulb went off when he discovered a bottle of his wine underneath his bed that had been there for 6-8 months. When he tasted it, he said it tasted like ambrosia. His interest was piqued, and he started experimenting.

Rael was not only a home brewer but an entrepreneur, inventor, and environmentalist. One of his companies, Sundog Solar (installing solar electrical and thermal systems) had many clients who were apple farmers, as well as were many cold storage facilities that could keep apples fresh all year long. Being an advocate of sustainable living and with a long history of home brewing, Jody began to explore the idea of making a small batch, handcrafted artisanal hard cider. In 2013, based on the very diverse disciplines of manufacturing, renewable energy and brewing, Sundog Cider was formally licensed as a New York State Farm Cidery. Sundog Cider produced its first batch for distribution in March, 2014.

However, Jody was not content with brewing the “old-fashioned way” and processing apples was a lengthy and labor-intensive process. He searched out the best and sweetest apple cider in the Hudson Valley and found the farm, Samascott Orchards, in nearby Kinderhook. He wanted the sweet taste of apples in his hard cider, not like the accepted taste of dry, slightly bitter English-style cider.

He explored capturing the C02 (carbon dioxide), a natural by-product from the fermentation process, and use it to add back into the hard cider for just a hint of carbonation. Because he wants his cider production process to be as sustainable as possible energy-wise, every step of production is completely solar powered. The result is a robust apple-flavored sweet, aromatic cider with a touch of carbonation. The cider is delicious and thirst-quenching – an ideal warm weather drink, low in alcohol (only 6 percent) and naturally gluten free.

Looking to the future, Jody wants to add fruit flavors to the apples and is considering using black currants in collaboration with culinary and horticulture expert, Greg Quinn. Quinn owns the only dedicated currant nursery in the country. Also in Jody’s repertoire of experiments is hard perrys (hard cider made from pears) and non-alcoholic beverages made with locally grown products.

In his quest to make his factory completely sustainable and energy efficient, Jody retrofitted his plant with energy efficient lighting and spray foam insulation and installed a vegetable oil boiler. The boiler provides heat for the facility with used vegetable oil (collected from restaurants) and eliminates propane. He also had his diesel vehicles converted to use vegetable oil and installed a solar air conditioner. The Sundog Cider factory is 100 percent solar powered and carbon neutral with 4,000 gallons of cider ready to go at any given time.

Sundog Cider, Sundog Solar, and Kling Magnetics are located on The Solaqua Campus along the Stonykill Creek in Chatham, New York, in the heart of the Hudson Valley. Solaqua Campus is a sprawling complex of buildings covering several acres. The campus has been designed and built around the tradition of innovative usage of the site through rehabilitation and reuse as a green building and a food and energy center powered by renewable energy technologies.

Sundog Hard Cider is the perfect light libation for the 21st century.

Please like & share:
Margaret was public relations director for two luxury New York City hotels, where she did extensive research into America's culinary heritage. She is a founding member of The James Beard Foundation; formerly, owner of a Jersey Shore inn and restaurant, The Pelican Bistro, recognized as one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in NJ by New Jersey Monthly, and a PR consultant to restaurateurs. For the past several years she has been a contributing writer about food, drink and restaurant news for many publications. She is a passionate cook and wine lover who moved to the Hudson Valley and is in awe of the immense wealth of agricultural, artisanal and culinary talent in the area. Connect with her at, Hudson Valley Wine & Restaurant Examiner and Shore Region Food & Restaurant Examiner. She can be reached at


  1. Rosemary

    December 30, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Keep up the great work, I read few content on this web site
    and I believe that your site is real interesting and contains lots of superb information.

  2. nicole

    January 25, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    Hi everyone, it’s my first pay a visit at this site, and post is in fact fruitful for me, keepp up posting these types of content.

  3. lasertest

    February 12, 2017 at 7:47 am

    You really make it seem really easy with your presentation however I in finding
    this topic to be actually one thing which I feel
    I’d never understand. It sort of feels too complex and extremely wide
    for me. I am having a look forward in your next publish, I’ll attempt to
    get the dangle of it!

  4. jepara teak furniture manufacturers

    February 16, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    If you are going for most excellent contents like I do, simply go to see this
    web page daily as it presents feature contents, thanks

  5. hdcam chats

    March 1, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Hi! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile
    friendly? My site looks weird when viewing from my iphone.
    I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to
    resolve this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share.
    Many thanks!


    March 2, 2017 at 1:47 am

    High quality: The standard of the shirts you utilize and the prints needs to be
    high notch.

  7. filmy cz

    March 9, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I go to see daily a few sites and sites to read articles or reviews, but this
    web site offers feature based writing.

  8. Jeannine

    March 14, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Excellent blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a
    little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option?
    There are so many options out there that I’m completely confused ..
    Any tips? Kudos!

  9. シースリー 錦糸町

    March 19, 2017 at 10:02 pm


  10. Administrator

    March 21, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Hello Jeannine, I am most familiar with WordPress so I recommend it there are plenty of youtube tutorials that will walk you through the process of building a site!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Follow by Email
Google +
Google +">