Hard Cider Newsletter

Hard Cider Events to Take Over City of Baltimore as Part of Cider Week

Cider tap takeovers, tastings, dinners, a festival and a conference of cider makers from around the world are all planned to take place in Baltimore during the last week of January and first weekend of February. To commemorate one of the largest concentrations of cider events ever held on the East Coast, the Mayor of Baltimore (Maryland) Catherine Pugh has declared January 30 through February 3 as Cider Week in Baltimore.

Cider Week Baltimore is being organized by the United States Association of Cider Makers (USACM) along with cider makers, restaurants and taverns from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington DC and New York. From January 31 – February 2, USACM will host CiderCon 2018 at the Waterfront Marriott in Baltimore. CiderCon is the premier opportunity for the cider community to gather, share ideas, collaborate and learn. More than 900 people from the cider industry nationwide and internationally are expected to attend.

“We are excited to host our conference on the East Coast, the birthplace of American heritage cidermaking, for the first time this year,” says Michelle McGrath, the executive director of USACM. CiderCon will feature a schedule of panels and presentations focused on heritage ciders, which are ciders made from apples that are grown specifically for cider making, including bittersweet and crabapples, using a vintage winemaking approach.  

“We know there is a bright future for heritage ciders in Baltimore,” says Dan Kopman, CEO of Heavy Seas Beer. “At Heavy Seas, we are excited to welcome cider makers from around the US and abroad to Baltimore for Cider Week Baltimore. This is a unique opportunity for all to experience so many great ciders.”

Below is a look at some of the many activities that are planned for Cider Week:

Monday January 29

  • Jack’s Hard Cider Kick the Keg Event at Abbey Burger Fells Point

Tuesday January 30

  • Pintxo Party with Tom Oliver at ANXO. Perhaps the world's most famous cider maker, Tom Oliver, brings his traditional English ciders to a Basque-inspired pintxos bar at ANXO for a memorable crossing of food and beverage cultures. Ocle Pychard, the collaboration ANXO's Cider Maker Gregory Johnson made last year at Oliver's, will be served from five gallon bag-in-boxes spread across the pintxos bar, which will also be decked out with an epic spread of ANXO's spectacular pintxos, reminiscent of the famous pintxos bars of San Sebastian. (This event is being held in Washington, DC.)

  • ANXO Cider Release Party at Wet City. ANXO debuts draft cider in Maryland and kicks off CiderCon with a release party open to the public at one of Baltimore's best bars, Wet City, featuring three ANXO drafts: Cidre Blanc; Happy Trees Batch #1; and Ocle Pychard (Oliver Collaboration)

  • Kick-off of Cider Tap Takeover at Heavy Seas Beer. Heavy Seas is turning their Baltimore Alehouse into a home for heritage ciders during CiderCon. Many authentic English ciders will be available on draft and via bag-in-box all week, and ANXO is curating a number of guest taps on the 31st.

  • Heritage Cider Tasting featuring Eden Specialty Ciders at Max’s Taphouse

  • Burgers & Bingo Event at Brewer’s Cask with Graft Cider

  • Vermont Cider Night at Charm City Meadworks with Shacksbury, Eden, WhistlePig, and Barr Hill

Wednesday January 31

  • Pennsylvania Cider Tap Takeover at Max’s Taphouse with the Pennsylvania Cider Guild. New Zealand ciders will also be featured

  • CiderCon La Cuchara/Black Twig Txotx Cider Tasting at La Cuchara

  • Cider Tap Takeover at Wet City featuring Shacksbury, Eden, ANXO and Graft Cidery

  • Eden Specialty Ciders 10th Anniversary Celebration Dinner, The Four Seasons Hotel: Wit & Wisdom

Thursday February 1

  • ANXO, Angry Orchard and Oliver’s Cider Dinner at Brewer’s Art

  • Cider Tap Takeover at Max’s with ANXO Cider and Graft Cidery

  • Mashin' It Up Cider Dinner with Hersh's & Minnow at Minnow Baltimore

  • Heritage New York and New England Cider Tasting at Heavy Seas including Graft Cidery

  • Eden and Black Twig East Coast Tap Takeover and Txotx at Wet City

  • Jack’s Hard Cider Dinner at the Cardinal Tavern

Friday February 2

  • Graft Cider Tasting, Perron Pour and Cider Party at Wet City featuring Graft’s latest release Cloud City: Vermilion District (Tart Cherry Dreamsicle) on tap as well as Farm Flor

  • Heritage Cider Social hosted by ANXO at Charm City Meadworks.

  • Pour the Core: Baltimore at the B&O Railroad Museum. The event will feature local favorites, regional cider makers, heritage ciders, top-selling US brands, and a variety of imported ciders and perries from Spain, England and elsewhere

Saturday, February 3

  • Shacksbury Spotlight with Food Pairings at Wet City

  • Shacksbury Tasting at Wine Source

  • ANXO Cider Hits Taps Fill Station at Mount Vernon Marketplace

Sunday, February 4

  • Cidre Blanc & Oysters Featuring Anxo Ciders at Dylan’s Oyster Cellar

More information and a full listing of events, visit CiderWeekBaltimore.com. Photos courtesy of the United States Association of Cider Makers.


Swilled Dog Hard Cider Releases 12-ounce Cans

Swilled Dog Hard Cider, a West Virginia hard cider company that launched in January 2017, is changing the game for West Virginia cider. On the anniversary of the company’s launch, Swilled Dog will be offering two popular varieties, Walk the Dog and Caramel Apple, in 6-pack 12-ounce cans all over the state of West Virginia.

Walk the Dog, one of the company’s drier ciders, won a bronze medal at the world’s largest cider competition (GLINTCAP). Caramel Apple, the company’s sweetest cider, recently won silver at Cidercraft Magazine’s cider awards.

“We feel that by offering these two popular ciders on both ends of the taste spectrum, we are able to give everyone a chance to find something they will like. If you like something on the drier side, Walk the Dog will be for you. If you are into sweeter ciders, Caramel Apple will be for you. Our goal is to offer fun and flavorful hard ciders to enjoy with your friends and family. Putting these two award-winning ciders in a 12oz. can accomplishes just that,” said Brooke Glover, Sales and Marketing Director.

Swilled Dog will continue to offer their fan-favorite, Bunny Slope (a citra dry-hopped cider) in 750 ml bottles as well as 1/6bbl kegs. All of Swilled Dog’s ciders will be available in kegs for taps across the state. Moving forward, seasonal favorites will also be offered in cans and kegs.

In the rapidly expanding hard cider industry, Swilled Dog will be the first cidery to put cider in a can from West Virginia. Cider in a 12oz. can is not uncommon in parts of New England and the Pacific Northwest. As hard cider trends continue to evolve and develop, Swilled Dog wants to remain in tune with the demands of its customers.

“Since opening, we have had many people asking for our ciders in a can. We also love to give the people what they want,” said Barry Glover, Swilled Dog’s Head of Operations. “By offering our ciders in a smaller, more portable vessel, it will not only allow them to be consumed by our adventure seeking customers, but it will allow us to compete with some of the bigger cider companies across the country and showcase West Virginia’s ability to make great hard cider.”

Swilled Dog is also now able to ship its ciders to 38 states across the country via their online marketplace. They also have a Swilled Cider Club where you can receive quarterly shipments of Swilled Dog Hard Cider right to your door. Visit SwilledDog.com for more details. Photos courtesy of Swilled Dog Hard Cider.


Crispin Rosé Hopes to Take a Bite Out of Booming Sales of Pink Wine

Rosé, the pink-toned wine that took the U.S. alcohol beverage market by storm, was seemingly everywhere in 2017, becoming a cultural phenomenon and sparking a round of internet memes, nicknames and rally cries.

Sales of rosé are up nearly 40 percent (year-to-date through December 2, 2017), according to Nielsen all-outlet and convenience data. Through 48 weeks, 2017 sales have surpassed $212 million, per Nielsen. Rosé’s surge, which effectively began in 2016 and accelerated last year, is part of the reason wine sales again outpaced beer sales in 2017, a trend that’s caught the attention of beer companies.

The MillerCoors cider brand Crispin aims to capture some of that momentum with its newest offering, Crispin Rosé. Launched this month, Crispin Rosé is made with real rose petals, hibiscus and a blend of fresh-pressed apples and pears.

“MillerCoors is bullish about the brand’s potential to appeal to drinkers who typically don’t drink beer,” says Ashley Selman, Vice President of Emerging and Economy Brands. “We know there’s a high correlation between wine and cider drinkers, and with the introduction of Crispin Rosé, we believe we’re bringing the best of both worlds to this group. Crispin Rosé combines the beautiful appearance of rosé with the crispness, refreshment and shareable nature of a cider.”

“With Crispin drinkers consuming more than four times as much wine as cider, per Nielsen data cited by MillerCoors, the addition of a wine-like rosé to its portfolio should help keep more of its target consumers in the cider category,” Selman says. It also is expected to bring in incremental drinkers; some 72 percent are projected to come from outside of the beer category, according to MillerCoors research.

With a dusty pink color and an aroma that matches a traditional, Provençal rosé, the hard cider has light cherry and strawberry notes on the nose, along with a hint of vanilla and stone fruit. Fresh strawberries and light cherry flavors make way for melon, rhubarb and tropical fruit, along with a tickle of sweetness. Still, the cider remains crisp and finishes dry, which is expected to appeal to a growing number of consumers seeking drier cider options.

“Long-term, we believe there’s huge opportunity in welcoming wine drinkers to the Crispin portfolio,” Selman says.

Crispin Rosé is initially being released in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles, followed by draft in March. For more information and where to find Crispin Rosé, visit CrispinCider.com. Photos courtesy of MillerCoors.


Seattle Cider Company Releases New Year-Round Products and New Packaging

Seattle Cider Company, known for its uniquely dry, handcrafted ciders made with real ingredients, is releasing two exciting year round ciders in the market, complete with new four-pack box packaging!

“Updating our packaging to boxes was the right decision for Seattle Cider Company,” said Joel VandenBrink, Founder and CEO. “The new four-pack boxes showcase the iconic look we’ve created with Seattle Cider Company cans in a more convenient package.”

The new packaging debuted this month in The Woods tasting room in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood (4660 Ohio Ave S., Seattle, Washington), starting with the newest year-round offerings, Tangerine Turmeric and Basil Mint. All Seattle Cider Company four-pack offerings, including Dry and Semi Sweet, will phase in through the next several weeks where products are available.

Basil Mint (6.9% ABV, 1.8 Brix) is fermented with fresh basil and mint leaves, this medium-dry cider starts savory and floral, and is complemented perfectly by a tart, clean finish. Basil Mint has previously been offered as a seasonal flavor, but due to overwhelming popularity, Seattle Cider Company will now be offering this botanical delight every day of the year.

Tangerine Turmeric (6.9% ABV, 1.3 Brix) is fermented with tangerine peel and fresh turmeric root, this off-dry cider is aromatic and complex, offering notes of ginger, cedar, and orange zest. New to the market, Tangerine Turmeric is an exciting and balanced cider.

Find Seattle Cider products in stores and on tap throughout Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Illinois, Austin (Texas), Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nevada, Missouri, Massachusetts, Colorado, Tennessee, and South Carolina with growing list of locations available at seattlecidercompany.com. Tastings, pints and packaged products are also available at The Woods tasting room in SoDo, which shares the space with Two Beers Brewing Co. For more information, follow Seattle Cider Company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@seattleciderco). Photos courtesy of Seattle Cider Company.


Molson Coors Acquires Aspall in UK’s Fast-Growing Market for Premium Cyders

Molson Coors and Aspall, the award-winning premium cyder brand, are pleased to announce they are coming together in what is the latest milestone in the Suffolk (United Kingdom) cider company’s illustrious history. The acquisition brings together two companies with a passion for building extraordinary brands and similar family-orientated ownership structures, with close to 650 years of combined experience in operating excellence.

Founded in 1728 by Clement Chevallier and run by the eighth generation of his family, Aspall is an established premium brand of quality and provenance. The company’s high-quality portfolio strengthens Molson Coors’ position in a fast-growing market for premium cider in the UK. Aspall also produces leading specialty vinegars, including Aspall Organic Cyder vinegar, which is made using a fermentation process that is the only one of its kind in the world.

Aspall operates from a single site in the parish of Aspall, Suffolk, (United Kingdom) where the Chevallier family first planted the orchards at Aspall Hall. Members of the family will remain part of the business and will play a key role in shaping the strategic direction of Aspall, ensuring that it remains a cornerstone of the surrounding community.

Through its industry-leading expertise in marketing, distribution and logistics, Molson Coors is ideally positioned to grow the business in the UK and establish a leading presence for the Aspall brand in key markets around the world. Molson Coors will be investing in Aspall’s Suffolk operation, helping further the founding family’s ambition to redefine the cider category by giving more consumers the opportunity to taste and develop an appreciation for the genuinely premium nature of high-quality cider.

Phil Whitehead, Managing Director of Molson Coors UK & Ireland, said, “We’re delighted to add Aspall to the Molson Coors portfolio. Both companies share a similar history that is deeply rooted in family, dedication to customers and a commitment to excellence. The Chevallier’s have been producing cyder for almost 300-years and their range of brands enhances our existing portfolio. We’re now looking forward to helping Aspall become the number one premium cyder in the UK and building on the huge potential of the Aspall vinegars, as part of an ongoing strategy to premiumise our portfolio.”

“This is an important milestone in Aspall’s long history and a proud day for everyone involved with the company. Having been in close discussions with Molson Coors for over a year, we were delighted to find that they share our rich heritage, passion for making quality cyder and vision for the future development of Aspall and its people. Molson Coors is known for respecting the provenance of local brands it has acquired in the past, and has the scale and expertise to accelerate our growth in the premium cider category in the UK and beyond,” stated Barry Chevallier Guild, Aspall Chairman.

Henry Chevallier Guild added, “There is a real opportunity to elevate and grow the status of English cyder in the UK and abroad both as a beverage and as an excellent partner for food. We believe that the Molson Coors investment will provide the catalyst to grow Aspall and build the recognition for quality cider worldwide.”

Volume of cyder sales at Aspall grew by 10% in 2016. The UK cider market is a substantial industry that is in value growth. The total UK cider market value grew by over 25% between 2010 and 2015 and is projected to continue that growth through until 2020 according to data from Nielsen. Aspall will operate as part of Molson Coors UK & Ireland, within the Molson Coors European business unit, and will continue to press, ferment, keg and bottle at the Cyder House in Aspall, Suffolk.

Learn more about Aspall by visiting them online at Aspall.co.uk. Photos courtesy of MolsonCoors.


New Cider Alerts!

Since our last newsletter, we caught wind of some awesome and delicious new ciders now available or coming soon to the market.  Here are just several to look out for:

Nine Pin Cider Works, Early Grey – Earl Grey is bright, floral and available in 12-ounce cans anywhere Nine Pin products are sold. Its mango-like notes will take the cider enthusiast on a tropical getaway, despite the frigid temperatures outdoors. Earl Grey is crafted with 100 percent New York apples, cold infused with earl grey tea from Guilderland, New York, Short and Stout Tea Co., and aged on lemon peel. The floral nature of the beverage is reminiscent of a fine spring day although Earl Grey Cider is an ideal companion for any winter adventure.

“Some of us may not recognize that the clouds and snow are part of what makes Upstate New York great. Complaining about winter is a waste of time. Instead, when it gets cold and cloudy, we recommend you crack open a can of Nine Pin Earl Grey Cider, and embrace the grey,” said Alejandro del Peral, co-founder and cider maker, Nine Pin Cider Works. (Photo provided by Nine Pin Ciderworks.)

Portland Cider Co., Concord Grape
– The delicious tart blend of 100 percent Northwest apple cider and fresh pressed NW Concord grapes is reminiscent of your favorite childhood grape juice box – only without the straw! Concord Grape is the result of a collaboration cider made with Waz Wu, chapter director of Veganizer Portland, for the Willamette Week Beer & Cider Pro-Am last October. The collaboration cider, which featured grape juice crushed in a grape stomp by Portland Cider Co. owner Jeff Parish and Wu, took home the People’s Choice award at the event. A stunning jewel purple color, Concord Grape is very juicy with a strong grape juice nose and semi-sweet finish, available in 22-ounce bottles and draft kegs through April. (Photo provided by Portland Cider Co.)

Portland Cider Co., Sangria - In accordance with its sustainability standards, Portland Cider Co. has transitioned from recyclable plastic Pak-Tek carriers to a six-pack box made of 100 percent recycled corrugated cardboard. This new six-pack box packaging will phase in through the next several weeks, debuting this month when the company’s popular Sangria cider hits store shelves in cans for the first time. Sangria features a blend of cider with the juices of orange, strawberry, pear, passionfruit, elderberry and lime; it’s essentially fruit punch for grown-ups. (Photo provided by Portland Cider Co.)

2 Towns Ciderhouse, Pommeau ’15 - A barrel-aged classic, the ‘15 vintage Pommeau is an essential guest at any table or in any cider connoisseur’s collection with 19% ABV. Hand-harvested and ‘sweated’ at cool temperatures, the fresh-pressed juice is then fermented and aged with apple brandy made from our own cider. Matured in French oak barrels for one year, the result is a tremendously complex apple Pommeau with a nose of dried apricots, orange blossoms, and late-season heirloom apples.  This bottle will continue to improve with cellaring for up to 20 years. (Photo provided by 2 Towns Ciderhouse.)

2 Towns Ciderhouse, Serious Scrump - Rich and substantial, Serious Scrump is a dry scrumpy cider made with an ice juice process. An eclectic blend of apples is pressed, frozen and slowly thawed, resulting in thick, aromatic juice which is then fermented with traditional English cider yeast. This unfiltered imperial cider has an 11% ABV. (Photo provided by 2 Towns Ciderhouse.)

2 Towns Ciderhouse, Riverwood ’16 - Inspired by proseccos of the past, Riverwood is a contemporary take on a classic with 6.3% ABV. Slow fermentation at cold temperatures allows the intense passionfruit-like aroma of freshly picked and pressed Jonagold and Porter’s Perfection apples to flourish. Dry, bright and floral, this New World cider brings the brut style out of the past and into the present. (Photo provided by 2 Towns Ciderhouse.)

Wyndridge Farm Cider, Crafty Cider and Crafty Cranberry – Those that have had the opportunity to try and buy Wyndridge ciders before have likely purchased the Crafty Cider or Crafty Cranberry on tap or by bottle; but what makes us add Wyndridge to our “new cider alerts” is the cans. Crafty Cider and Crafty Cranberry are both now available in 12-ounce cans! Wyndridge Farm launched some of their “Hunt Series” ciders in cans last year but looks to be rolling out other varieties in cans this year.  Now you can conveniently carry Wyndridge Crafty Cider and Cranberry to your next outing more easily. (Photo provided by Wyndridge Farm.)

Bold Rock, Rosé
– Available on shelves February 5, Rosé is a fruit-forward, rosé-inspired cider with a crisp berry finish. With an emphasis on the classic berry notes of rosé, Bold Rock has created a cider that gives its apple base a vibrant fresh finish akin to the wine counterpart.

“We are always looking for ways to be creative and innovative with cider,” says Ian Niblock, Bold Rock’s head cidermaker. “Taking inspiration from wine has afforded us a lot of flexibility in the craft cider world, and with Rosé we’ve created a versatile, cider that will please both our core enthusiasts and those that enjoy light, refreshing styles of wine.” (Photo courtesy of Bold Rock Hard Cider.)


Eat This…

Drink That…

Cheddar Dogs with Cider-Braised Leeks and Apples
From Andrews Schloss via Bon Appetit

Hop Cider Gin & Tonic
From Marissa Hermanson

Photo Credit: Kenji Toma

Photo Credit: Paste Magazine