Corks, Kegs and Commentary

Events, news and musings from the crew at Hayden Beverage Company. Information on beer, wine and events in the state of Idaho

The Cider Cometh

Dodds Hayden - Monday, August 27, 2012

As I find myself with a pint in front of me at 10:00am in the Glasgow airport, I reflect on a few things:
1 - In a land where golf is a religion, my soul is in jeopardy, and need to spend some time with my knee bent at the pew of the practice green.

2 - My appreciation is confirmed that our industry is populated by wonderful, gregarious people who know how to work, live, and play with passion.
3 -There is a cider market the power of which we have not yet witnessed in the US.

When travelling in another country, it is always interesting to see the consumption patterns and culture and try new brands. As we travelled through Scotland, it was clear that cider is an essential part of their pub culture. Every bar and clubhouse we visited poured a draft cider, and often more than one. They served it with or without ice. And when we visited a convenience store, a two-door beer set had a full shelf of ciders.

In our market, there are hints of the coming cider business: I had Tieton Apricot cider on draft at Fork last week. Boston Beer Company has made a significant bet on the cider category with Angry Orchard which is quickly gaining distribution and pulling well off the shelves.

Cider is crisp and refreshing with generally good balance of acid, sweetness (or fruitiness), and alcohol. And it is not filling. It was incredibly pleasant to have a pint of cider after a round of golf.

There is mixing application, from classics like snake bites (Pale Ale and Cider) and Black Velvet (Guinness and Cider) to spirits, i.e. Angry Orchard and Firefly cinnamon whiskey (known as Angry Balls).

Every account with 8 handles or more should have a cider. We have a long way to go in the U.S., but it will happen. MillerCoors just bought cider producer Crispin. Heineken just bought back the US rights back for StrongBow. And Stella Artois had a cider on the shelves in the UK and willl likely have a cider in the US within a year.

Our book boasts Spire from the NW and Ace from California, Angry Orchard from Boston Beer, and craft cider producer Tieton from Washington. It is not missionary zeal or some Scottish romanticism that compels me to advocate cider sampling. It is just good.

I welcome your feedback.

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