Everything old is new again. And what’s making a big comeback? Hard Cider. Hard Cider is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented fruit, most commonly, apples. Hard Cider was the drink of choice in America during the Colonial Era, but its popularity began to fade around the 1840’s as German immigrants came to the U.S. with their beer-making techniques.
Perhaps the reason Hard Cider is becoming popular again is that it is gluten free, unlike most beers. It is also lower in carbohydrates than most beers. Additionally, Hard Cider is made from fruit, and most are all natural, so many health-conscious people who usually drink wine are adding Hard Cider (or “apple wine”) to their cocktail choices.
Many breweries have jumped on the bandwagon in hopes of profiting from the recent Hard Cider trend. Depending on which brand or type you choose, the taste will vary significantly. Some ciders are very sweet and taste like fruit juice while others are crisp and dry.
One brand that is popular is Woodchuck. Woodchuck is made in Vermont at the Vermont Hard Cider Company and the apples are grown on American soil there, unlike many others who import the cider from abroad. Woodchuck covers all the bases with flavors. Some include Amber, Granny Smith, 802 Dark & Dry, Crisp, Raspberry and Pear.
Heinekin recently announced it is taking over the U.S. distribution of Strongbow – The number two alcoholic cider in the country after the Woodchuck brand. MillerCoors recently acquired Crispen Cider, a Minneapolis, Minnesota company that launched in 2008, and the third largest Hard Cider producer in the country. Anheuser Busch came up with its own cider, Michelob Ultra Cider, and has had great success in distribution.
Beer imports in the U.S. have decreased over the last three years, and companies have decided to promote Hard Cider as most beer is consumed by men, but Hard Cider is consumed by 50% men and 50% women. There is a fast-growing cider market out there and these companies are at the forefront of the latest Hard Cider craze. Many places have Hard Cider Festivals to help promote the beverage. Check out this issue of Chilled Magazine for more thirst quenching hard cider and enjoy one of the fastest growing revivals ever.