I vividly remember the first time I tried alcoholic cider. I was living in Galway, Ireland, in 2005 and one of my new-found Irish friends had suggested we try Bulmer’s (in the states this brand is called Magner’s – not sure why). From the first sip I was hooked.
Then I came back to the states and it was almost impossible to find alcoholic cider anywhere in Chicago. When I lived in New York, it was easier to find but usually only at Irish pubs – true Irish pubs that were owned by real bona fide Irishmen who knew the pull of a good cider.
Fast forward to 2013 and it seems the good people of the United States are finally seeing just how great cider is – it’s difficult to walk into a bar and not find some sort of cider on the shelves. I chalk this up to the great craft beer push of the past few years that has been bringing different beers from all different areas of the country (and world even!) to people’s attention. Not only that, but cider happens to be gluten-free, and we all know how in demand gluten free products are these days.
According to research firm GuestMetrics, a company who analyzes point-of-sale data at full service restaurants, cider sales in restaurants grew by 40% in 2012. And year-over-year sales in the first quarter of 2013 jumped by 70%! Those numbers are huge, which is why so many bars and restaurants are starting to take notice of this menu trend.
If you’re a restaurant who wants to dabble in ciders, here two tips that will help you stand out:
- Be innovative! A lot of younger generations seem to be attracted to cider flavor innovations. While apple cider is the standard, other flavors are starting to become more prominent like pear and raspberry.
- Ordering more less-known ciders might also work in your favor – especially if they are American brands and batches that are rare. This creates a sense of urgency to come and try it before you’re out!
So let’s cheers to a summer for cider! Get sampling and order some for your restaurant or bar today.