Hard Cider Newsletter

Citizen Cider Launches Citizen Seltzer

Citizen Cider, founded in 2010 on a hunch and some good old-fashioned hard work, has quickly become a leading player in the craft cider arena. Citizen strives to look at the bigger picture and focuses on being involved in every aspect of their supply chain, sourcing all fruit directly from local farmers and pressing the juice to create a true craft cider - never from concentrate.

Being the creators that they are, Citizen’s team decided to do a survey of the ever-popular seltzer category to see what was happening in the industry. They discovered pretty quickly that there is no middle to the category, no seltzer brands offering high-quality products made with real ingredients. They challenged their team to create a better product made from real fruit, with no added sugars that holds true to the ethos of Citizen Cider.

Starting this summer, Citizen Cider is happily introducing, Citizen Seltzers. Three styles - Apple All Day, Ginger Love and Lemon Spritz - hit shelves in Vermont already and are rolling out to the rest of the Citizen distribution footprint now; a mixed pack will follow in July. These seltzers are made using only local ingredients from Vermont. Each can contains 100 calories, two grams of carbs and one gram of sugar providing a different spin on the current offerings that is dry, refreshing and 5% ABV.

Citizen Seltzers are made from hard cider that is broken down with a separation cone from Aqua ViTea. The alcohol is then reformulated with some carbonated water to create the alcohol-based seltzer. After, natural ingredients are added to produce the different varieties. Apple All Day has thirst-quenching apple flavor while Lemon Spritz has added lemon peel to complement the apple and add complexity and body. Ginger Love has the same apple-based seltzer but a snap of ginger perfectly balanced. For additional information, visit CitizenCider.com.

Photo Credit: Citizen Cider


Atlanta Hard Cider Releases First Seasonal Cider, Tiki Haze

Inspired by tiki-style drinks and bars, Georgia-based, Atlanta Hard Cider, released their first seasonal cider, Tiki Haze, for the sunny, summer days ahead. The cider will be available in four-packs of 16-ounce cans for the suggested retail price of $11.99 at retailers and on draft at bars and restaurants throughout the state of Georgia with a concentration on the metro Atlanta area.

Tiki Haze is made with 100% US-grown handpicked whole apples, primarily Macintosh with Empire and Fuji to complement the taste, that are freshly-pressed. The cider base is then blended with pineapple juice and mango juice for a semi-sweet cider that is gluten-free with a 6.9% ABV. The tropical flavors capture the essence of summer in a can with all-natural ingredients, no artificial flavors, and no artificial sweeteners. The can itself also exudes summer with tropical flowers and colors that are a departure from the white space treatment of the logo on the cider producer’s other cans. Tiki Haze received such an overwhelmingly positive response that the first batch sold-out before June! Not to worry though, another batch was released and customers can visit Atlanta Hard Cider’s website to track where to find it. Tiki Haze will be available through September or until they sell out again.

Due to a gluten-intolerance, Co-founders Mark and Liz Deno started Atlanta Hard Cider in 2017 after previously searching for an all-natural hard cider locally and taking Oregon State’s Cider Making Best Practices course. They started the company with one cider, Crisp Apple, that was made with just US apples and champagne yeast. Since then, they have grown the company and their offerings. Tiki Haze will join the cider producer’s portfolio that includes the original cider plus Pomegranate, Honey Bee and Rosé.

Atlanta Hard Cider plans to continue to grow beyond just it’s cider offerings this year, as well. Prior to the pandemic, the company had plans to open a cider production facility and tasting room this summer in Marietta, Georgia. Construction is still underway so stay tuned and follow its progress on Instagram and Facebook. Their new home will be located at 1010 Roswell Street, Marietta, GA 30060. Visit AtlantaHardCider.com for additional information.

Photo Credit: Atlanta Hard Cider Co.


Nine Pin Cider Releases New Light Cider Variety Pack

New York’s Nine Pin Cider Works announced the release of a new light cider variety pack. This is the first variety pack Nine Pin has produced and packaged, and it will include three styles.

The styles of cider to be included in the variety pack include: New York Apple featuring apples from Samascott Orchards in the Hudson Valley, Lavender Lemon using culinary lavender from Lavenlair Farm in the Lake George Region, and Cranberry Orange crafted with cranberries from Deer River Bog deep in the Adirondacks.

Nine Pin Cider was founded with a simple mission: to support New York agriculture by crafting quality ciders using 100 percent New York apples and fruit,” said Alejandro del Peral, co-founder and cidermaker. To further that mission, Nine Pin’s light ciders are crafted with simple farm-grown ingredients sourced from Samascott Orchards, Lavenlair Farm and Deer River Cranberry Bog: three farm-to-table lo-cal ciders from local farms!”

The light cider variety six-pack contains two 12-ounce cans of each style ranging in ABVs from 4.1%-4.6% and in calories from 100-110. The variety packs are available for purchase via pick up at Nine Pin’s tasting room, in addition to delivery and shipping. The packs will be available in retailers proudly carrying Nine Pin products, as well. To learn more about Nine Pin Cider, please visit NinePinCider.com.

Photo Credit: Nine Pin Ciderworks


Buskey Cider Continues to Release Ciders Amidst Pandemic Challenges

If you haven’t been able to keep up with Buskey Cider, it’s understandable. The cider producer has had a number of releases in the first half of the year – some seasonals, collaborations, a barrel-aged offering, and constant innovation.

Most recently, Buskey announced the release of their popular summer seasonal cider, Watermelon Rosemary Cider. The cider debuted to customers last month in 16-ounce cans and 32-ounce crowlers through delivery and pick up via their website to most parts of Virginia. The 16-ounce cans were also available through distribution in select grocery stores and bottle shops.

“From this batch’s start soon after opening, as a Randall in our tasting room, to 60 barrels, to 135 barrels, on day one of COVID, a handful of customers reached out to me asking if we’d still be making the Watermelon Rosemary this year. Heck yeah we are, and lots of it,” said Will Correll, founder and CEO of Buskey. When the pandemic initially hit, Will announced that he was going without pay for the foreseeable future in order to cover the costs to pay for employees during the crisis. Hopefully, Watermelon Rosemary will bring in much needed revenue.

“Three years ago we released Watermelon Rosemary Cider as our largest seasonal batch, which sold out prelaunch. For a lot of customers, this propelled Buskey to the forefront of the cider scene. It continues to be the most anticipated cider every year,” said Elle Correll, co-owner and director of sales and marketing at Buskey. Elle also gave up her salary to support the team. “Just because COVID-19 means we can’t have a big launch party, that doesn’t mean that Watermelon Rosemary doesn’t get to launch in style. It’ll be launching at your doorstep with nearly statewide delivery. Who knows! Maybe this will catch on for good.”

Buskey started a delivery service to continue bringing their cider to the people in and surrounding Richmond, Virginia back in March. Launched on Shopify, this delivery concept was a way for their fans to support Buskey during this time of crisis by continuing the flow of cider via the off-premise route. In addition to cider, the cider company has also been delivering other local products in an effort to save more jobs in their community like Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix and Snowing in Space Nitro Cold Brew Coffee, among other items.

Buskey Watermelon Rosemary Cider will be available for delivery or through pick up at Buskey Cider, 2910 W. Leigh Street, Richmond, VA 23230 and their outpost, Buskey Cider on the Bay, at 109 Mason Avenue, Cape Charles, VA 23310. The cider will also be available throughout Virginia via Premium Distributors of Virginia, Chesbay Distributing, Blue Ridge Beverage, and Wendell Distributing.

Buskey Cider also introduced Kings Cider, a Kings Dominion branded hard cider in the Spring for the first time. Kings Cider is a semi-sweet, classic cider which is a blend of crushed, 100% fresh-pressed apples from Virginia that were fermented locally in downtown Richmond. The label for the cider was designed with the amusement park for which the cider was inspired – rollercoasters included. Kings Cider is the official cider of Kings Dominion, and was supposed to launch with the park’s opening in April. Since the park is temporarily closed until the state reopens entertainment venues, fans will have to wait a little longer for a taste of this new Buskey cider.

Two additional Buskey Cider products made their introduction in the Spring as well – Tropical RUMble and Zest In Class – both unique collaborations. Tropical RUMble was made in partnership with Courthouse Creek Cider for the 2020 Scott’s Addition Beverage District Collaboration Crawl in the craft beverage neighborhood of Scott’s Addition in Richmond, Virginia, which includes 12 alcohol producers. Each producer is paired up to collaborate and release a special product during the crawl. Tropical RUMble was Buskey’s first rum barrel-aged cider; and it was crafted with dragonfruit and kiwi for tropical vibes.

Buskey Cider and the awesome women from their hometown distributor, Premium Distributors of Virginia, collaborated to produce Zest In Class to celebrate International Women’s Day. The woman-driven production day was initiated by Reyes Holding Company to support their female employees and their local producers all throughout the country. Zest In Class was crafted with 100% Virginia apples, passion fruit, lemon zest, orange zest, and fresh fuschia blooms; and as always, no added sugar. Distribution was limited to Richmond, Virginia.

The final Buskey Cider release kicked-off the year and has officially run its course now that summer is here. The spring seasonal, Peach Tea Cider, was made with a loose-leaf peach tea blend crafted by Richmond’s CaryTown Teas which includes white tea and peach blossoms. The cider was available on tap and in 16-ounce cans around the state, in addition to the Buskey tasting room.

The Buskey cider makers are always innovating. Keep up with all things Buskey Cider at BuskeyCider.com, including their limited release ciders that are sometimes tasting room only specials.

Photo Credit: Buskey Cider


Blake’s Hard Cider Adds New Flavors to Lite Cider Lineup

Blake's Hard Cider introduced a refresh to the Blake's Lite Cider line adding new flavors Mimosa, Strawberry-Kiwi and Melon to complement the popular Apple flavor. The innovative line of low-calorie Lite Ciders was the first of its kind in the cider industry and made a big impact in the craft market last year, quickly becoming a fan-favorite and one of cider producer’s most popular sellers.

The Blake's Lite Ciders are a variety of hard ciders and each flavor features 5% ABV, four carbs, 100 calories and one gram of sugar. These lite ciders became available for purchase this month. To find them near you, you can visit the Blake’s Cider Locator.

The team at Blake’s was hard at work pushing boundaries to bring fresh ideas to the second edition of Blake's Lite Cider and is proud of the three new flavors. Lite Melon's flavor profile features sweet notes of honeydew melon and dessert apples. Strawberry-Kiwi is a well-balanced recipe with a hint of strawberry sweetness, finishing off with mild kiwi tartness. Mimosa is a dry, sparkling sipper with champagne bubbles and citrus orange notes.

Like Blake's full line of hard ciders, the Lite Ciders are all-natural and gluten-free made from a five-apple blend of fresh-pressed Michigan apples grown and harvested on Blake's orchard with no artificial flavorings or sweeteners.

"Last year was our first year in this category and sales exceeded expectations. Blake's fans appreciated an alternative to hard seltzer and a lower calorie offering. Our team created some unique recipes for this generation of Lite Cider," said Andrew Blake, owner of Blake’s Hard Cider. "In these unusual times, people appreciate authenticity. We are surrounded by fresh fruit here at the farm and it's grown, created and packaged at our orchard."

Blake's Lite Ciders are offered in a four-flavor variety 12-pack and Apple and Mimosa are available in 6-packs. The ciders are sold throughout the company's 15 state footprint through Blake's Hard Cider distribution partners and at most major independent stores and grocery chains. Visit BlakesHardCider.com for more information.

Photo Credit: Blake’s Hard Cider


ANXO Cidery Releases New Natural Cider Entirely From Crabapples

ANXO, the apples-only, dry cider brand out of Washington, DC, has announced the release of Ornamental, a new natural cider for Summer. Made with three different types of crabapples and fermented using only wild organisms, Ornamental is a bright and beautiful take on natural wines, created to celebrate the beautiful display of these trees. The launch of Ornamental marks ANXO’s first new cider release this year.

“It’s uncommon to make a cider almost entirely from crabapples,” says Sam Fitz, co-founder and president of ANXO. “These apples are usually only seen as useful pollinators in orchards, but we knew that we could develop them into something great. We decided to let the organisms on the apple skins do the fermenting in order to keep Ornamental a truly naturally fermented cider.”

To create Ornamental, the ANXO team uses a specific blend of Hewe’s, Manchurian, and Burford’s Red-Fleshed crabapples sourced from various orchards in Virginia and fermented in wooden casks. Once ready, the petillant cider has a high acidity and a perceived dry taste with medium tannins at 6.9% ABV. Ornamental is one of the brand’s select ciders that fall under the naturally-fermented category, as many of ANXO’s ciders are made with the addition of commercial yeasts, but remains naturally sugar-free, gluten-free and low in carbohydrates.

Ornamental is available for delivery to over 40 states on ANXO’s website. It is also available in select markets in stores where ANXO ciders are typically sold, and at ANXO’s two brick and mortar locations in Washington, D.C.. Prices start at $14.99 for a 4-pack. Keep up with ANXO’s latest releases by following the company on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook or by visiting them online at ANXOCider.com.

Photo Credit: ANXO Cider


Eat This…

Drink That…

Rainbow Seeker Infused Pork Chop From Blake’s Hard Cider Co.

Broadway Mule
From Nine Pin Cider Works

Photo Credit: Blake’s Hard Cider

Photo Credit: Miguel Maldonado