Hard Cider Newsletter


Woodchuck Hard Cider Introduces Spitter Splinter Cider

Woodchuck Hard Cider introduced Spitter Splinter, the next cider in the ‘Out on a Limb’ lineup. ‘Out on a Limb’ is a rotating six-pack that features some of Woodchuck’s most innovative cider varieties, and Spitter Splinter is the second variety to be presented in the Out on a Limb package, which rotates every 45 to 60 days.

Spitter Splinter features European bittersweet apple varieties often referred to as “spitter” apples due to their tart and acidic nature. The fermented juice is aged in bourbon barrels, resulting in a semi-dry cider. The bittersweet apples bring a dry profile and the six months of aging in bourbon barrels add woody vanilla oak notes throughout. Spitter Splinter is 5.5% ABV and has a suggested retail price of $10.99 on a six-pack.

Also hitting shelves this month is the unique Woodchuck Private Reserve Barrel Select Cider, which features common eating apple varieties aged in white oak bourbon barrels. Look for the newly redesigned packaging in limited quantities through February. This reserve cider has 5.5% ABV and a suggested retail price of $10.99 on a six-pack.

For more information about the newly introduced Woodchuck Hard Ciders, visit Woodchuck.com or download the new mobile app, available for iOS and Android users.


Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider Releases New Year-Round Offering, ‘Revival’

Reverend Nat's Hard Cider unveiled Revival, a new year-round cider available on draft and in 500ml bottles, this month. Revival, reimagines the concept of American hard cider with complexity and layers of tropical fruit alongside a crisp, solid apple base. Revival is made with a dessert blend of apples, is comprised of multiple blended fermentations, and uses Mexican Piloncillo Negro for depth of flavor.

"I don't like to drink sweet ciders, so I don't make them" said Nat West, Reverend Nat's Hard Cider's founder. Revival greets the cider drinker with exotic pineapple, guava, and peach flavors from the unique yeast blend. "It gives a perception of sweetness, while maintaining a semi-dry character and rich complexity," says West. Revival is made using only the highest quality apples from Washington State and fully fermented piloncillo from Michoacan, Mexico.

Revival is filtered brilliant, clocks in at 6% ABV, and is naturally gluten-free. Release events are being held in Portland, OR-area taprooms. Check the Reverend Nat’s Facebook page for announcements. Revival will be available where better beers and ciders are sold throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Southern California, and Alaska.

To learn more about Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, visit RevNats.com.


Virtue Cider’s Lapinette Cidre Brut Takes Gold Medal at #FoBAB

Virtue Cider’s Lapinette Cidre Brut 2013 Harvest has been awarded the Gold Medal for Cider, Perry, or Mead at the 2014 Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers (FoBAB), in a category that included internationally recognized cidermakers. Aged in French oak barrels with French yeast, Lapinette received top scores in the event’s blind tasting of beverage industry experts.

“For cidermakers, Gold at FoBAB represents one of America’s highest honors for quality and complexity achieved through barrel aging,” said Virtue Cider Co-Founder Gregory Hall. “A technique practiced for generations by the great European cidermakers that inspired us.”

FoBAB is familiar territory for Hall. As a former brewmaster at Goose Island Beer Co., he pioneered the barrel-aged craft beer movement nearly two decades ago, leading to the release of the brewery’s highly popular Bourbon County Stout series. Years later at Virtue Cider, Hall has amassed one of craft cider’s largest oak aging collections, including American, French and Bourbon barrels. Virtue draws from more than 500 barrels to produce several annual European-style blends, including last year’s Gold Medal Cider at FoBAB, The Mitten, a Bourbon Barrel-aged cider.

This year’s Gold Medal winner, Lapinette Cidre Brut 2013 Harvest is an unfiltered blend of fresh Michigan heirloom apples, fermented with French yeasts and aged for several months in French oak barrels. A portion of the barrels are closed with Brettanomyces, adding rich complexity and integrating the flavors of the apple, barrel and farm.

“To achieve a FoBAB Gold this year with a very different cider, one where oak and farm notes are central,” said Virtue Head Cidermaker Ryan Burk, “demonstrates that cider drinkers are thirsty for variety, dimension, and character.”

Lapinette Cidre Brut 2013 Harvest is distributed on draft and in 750mL bottles in 20 U.S. states where Virtue is currently sold, including: CA, CT, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, TX, WA and WI.

Other category winners for Cider, Perry and Mead include a Silver Medal for Wyder’s Reposado Pear and a Bronze Medal for Vander Mill’s Chapman’s Oats.

For more information about Virtue Cider and Lapinette Cidre Brut, please visit VirtueCider.com.


Cider Riot! Releases Blackberry Cider

Already a cult hit on draught, Cider Riot!’s new “Never Give an Inch” Oregon blackberry cider made its bottled debut in Portland (Oregon) bottle shops and food co-ops this month.

“Growing up in rural Yamhill County [OR.], I saw folks try to fight blackberries with everything from caterpillar tractors, to goats, to chemicals, fire, machetes, you name it,” says Cider Riot! founder and cidermaker Abram Goldman-Armstrong. “The blackberries always came back the next year. Never Give an Inch celebrates that Oregonian resiliency, the ability to carry on against all odds. Himalayan blackberries are a worthy opponent when we pick wild apples for [our] Burncider, plus they are tasty, so we thought we’d dedicate a cider to them.”

Oregon blackberries and blackcurrants give the Never Give an Inch cider a fruity aroma and flavor, plus a purple hue. Fruit flavors, tannins and the dry finish give it an almost wine-like character, though the balanced dry cider is fermented with ale yeast.

The cider’s bottle label features one of John Foyston’s (a Portland, OR oil painter and beer writer) “rusty truck” oil paintings. “I come upon many of the subjects for my paintings during motorcycle trips on the backroads of Eastern Oregon, Idaho, Montana and the Palouse in Washington; and either I paint on the spot or make reference photos,” spoke Foyston. “The truck in the painting [on the bottle] is a ‘40s-era Dodge that languishes to this day by the side of Highway 20 just east of Dayton, Washington. I’m drawn to old trucks and abandonment in general because of the way nature gentles and subsumes cast-off machines and buildings, and because rust, moss and decay create great colors – the perfect excuse to buy the BIG tube of Gamblin Indian Yellow.”

Never Give an Inch is a fantastic year-round cider, but for a special winter warmer, try mulling the cider over low heat with holiday spices. The following is a great receipe recommended by the Cider Riot! team:

  • 2 bottles of Never Give an Inch cider

  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

  • 2 juniper berries

  • ¼ teaspoon allspice

  • ¼ teaspoon mace

  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

  • Dash of orange peel

For more information about Cider Riot! and the company’s Never Give an Inch cider, please visit them online at CiderRiot.com or following them on Twitter and Facebook: @CiderRiot.


Our Top 10 Baked Goods for the Hard Cider Enthusiast

1. Hard Cider Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate (From Bakeaholic Mama)

A delicious recipe “made with hard cider syrup, filled with apple chunks, white chocolate and cranberries; and then drizzled with a hard cider glaze” – yes, please!

2. Mini Cider Whoopie Pies (From Angry Orchard)

“Instead of chocolate with a marshmallow filling, these are a little fancier, with the tones of the cider melding well with a cream cheese filling” – a new take on an old classic we love!

3. Apple Cider Shortbread (From Alex Early of the Richmond Times-Dispatch)

A sweetened biscuit with buttery goodness and a nice apple glaze that combines Europe’s love of shortbread AND cider.

4. Hard Apple Cider Snickerdoodles (From Salt City Bakery)

Indecision often leads to creativity, such as in this case, like the combination of apple pie and snickerdoodle cookies

5. Magners Brown Butter Blondies (From Buttercream Blondie)

An adaptation on the blondie using brown butter and hard cider, two things that we know you can’t resist!

6. Ginger Cookies with Cider Frosting (From Angry Orchard)

“Gingerbread cookies are a quintessential part of the holiday season. The apple tones help round out the sharp ginger flavor.”

7. Not Too Sweet Ginger Spice Cake (From Juniper Moon Farm)

Bake this cake to keep cozy and warm, inside and out, through the winter, without the tooth ache from all the sweet treats you’ve had from the holidays

8. Hard Cider Cinnamon Cupcakes with Caramel Whiskey Apples & Whiskey Buttercream ( From Veggie and the Beast)

“Hard cider goes in the cake; and whiskey winds up in both the caramel apple filling and the buttercream. These are adult cupcakes, folks.”

9. Hard Apple Cider and Cinnamon Bread (From Tattooed Martha)

A baked good not just for dessert but for your dinner table. Add some sweet butter and this bread can be enjoyed right next to your ham

10. Apple and Cider Beignets (From Tartelette)

Fried apple dough… a mouth-watering recipe that is too good to say “no” to


Strongbow Hard Apple Cider Launches First TV Spot

Strongbow Hard Apple Cider, the number one selling global cider brand according to Canadean (based on 2013 global sales volume of the largest single cider brands), announced the launch of their latest campaign, "Cider at Its Bestest," which includes the brand's first ever US television spot, "Slow Motion Horse." The campaign, set to run nationally, puts the product at its core, showcasing that Strongbow over ice is the best cider experience possible. 

With over 125 years of cider-making experience, Strongbow is the authority on the proper way to make and serve hard apple cider. "We use quality ingredients and, of course, we would like people to enjoy Strongbow in the best way possible: poured over ice," said Alejandra de Obeso, Brand Director Portfolio Brands, HEINEKEN USA. "It brings out our flavor notes and offers a different kind of refreshment that sets the stage for a great time, day or night."

From parks and patios to deck bars and street festivals, Strongbow is also at its best when served during those occasions when you're with friends, kicking-off your afternoon plans or strolling on the beach with your very own slow-motion horse.

The playful campaign, created by Droga5, demonstrates that apples are good, but as Strongbow cider, they're better, and when served over ice, Strongbow is the best. "With cider brands trying to out-refresh each other, we went better than best, to bestest," said John McKelvey, Creative Director of Droga5.

"The overall campaign explores the absurd notions of making the best even more desirable. In this case it meant enjoying a Strongbow with your horse that only runs in slow motion. That's the bestest," added Hannes Ciatti, Creative Director of Droga5.

"Slow Motion Horse" began airing in October and can now be seen in an extended :60 that airs online and on social channels.  An additional :15 spot titled, "Three Sunsets," also debuted this fall.  The new brand platform will be supported through a mix of traditional and paid media, digital, PR and experiential marketing.

Earlier this year, the brand re-launched with crisp, new flavors Gold Apple and Honey & Apple. "The cider category continues to grow at a high rate and Strongbow is committed to providing new innovations," said de Obeso. "We're always looking for ways to satisfy our fans' need for variety, and that means delivering new flavors."

Both Strongbow Gold Apple and Strongbow Honey & Apple are gluten free, 5% ABV, and contain 172 and 195 calories per 11.2 oz. bottle, respectively.


Eat This…

Drink That…

Prosciutto-wrapped Pork Loin with Roasted Apples
From Svitlana of Art de Fete

Cranberry Apple Sparkler
From SkinnyMs

Photo Credit: Gary Flom

Photo Credit: Skinny Ms.