Competing with storied craft beer, hard cider has faced hard knocks when it comes to getting respect in recent years. Now, however, cider sales are on the upswing
, a boon that can be attributed to the gluten-free trend as well as the beverage’s newly sophisticated flavor profile. Gone are the saccharine, hangover-inducing cousins to apple juice. From mainstream brews to artisanal products, refined cider may just be the drink of 2012.
The fact that Woodchuck, one of the better known cider brands, shares a syllable with a slang word for “vomit” certainly hasn’t helped the brew’s reputation. Be that as it may, a new cider launched officially by the Vermont-based company last month could force those who’ve been turning up their noses to re-evaluate. After becoming the subject of consumer acclaim upon its inclusion in variety 12-packs last summer, Woodchuck Crisp
is now a standard. With an ABV of just 3.2%, the strikingly dry strain is being marketed as “American’s first Session Cider
”—a tagline that, despite having hyperbolic leanings, could see more people washing down their pizza with the stuff.
Original Sin Newtown Pippin
: Queens is the most renowned NYC borough among chowhounds, thanks to its extensive buffet of cheap ethnic fare. But what many people don’t know about the urban enclave is that it was also once home to an agricultural wonder that predates today’s consumer lust for heirloom edibles. The Newtown Pippin apple
, a favorite of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, was first discovered in 1740 in the neighborhood now known as Elmhurst. Manhattan-based cider company Original Sin
has introduced this new flavor
that’s reviving the Founding Fathers’ favorite for the modern age. Dry, tart, vaguely yeasty, and slightly carbonated, it’s the champagne of ciders.
Grocery store shoppers are easily lured by brand names, cut rate prices
and trendy superfoods
, yet an ostensible lack of visually enticing packaging in this area means that they are rarely selected on appearance alone. Were more food-and-beverage products encased as beautifully as Saxton
, a new cider line made exclusively for Australian grocer Woolworths
, aesthetics would likely become a more powerful purchase driver. The packaging
, designed by New Zealand-based studio Supply
, looks more like something one would find on the fragrance floor of an upmarket department store than next to a sixer of Bud Light. One can only hope that the brew tastes as clean as it looks.