Stella Artois, the best-selling Belgian beer in the world, is introducing Stella Artois Cidre to the surging U.S. cider market.
Stella Artois Cidre is a crisp, distinctive European-style cider made with apples hand-picked from wine-growing regions. Initially it will be available in 26 states, with further expansion possible in 2014.
Sales to retailers begin on May 13. Adam Oakley, vice president of import, craft and specialty brands at Anheuser-Busch, notes the cider category is seeing 110 percent growth in the U.S., and this new brand will help to meet the growing demand for premium ciders with a more complex taste profile.
“Stella Artois Cidre is designed to be savored and is very different from sweeter, domestic U.S. ciders,” Oakley says. “Stella Artois Cidre has the potential to change people’s perceptions of cider here, offering a refreshing alternative to white wine.”
With the U.S. cider market seeing triple-digit growth, it has become one of the fastest-growing beverage categories. Early growth in the category was driven primarily by sweeter domestic ciders, but this has been balanced of late by a consumer demand for drier, premium European-style ciders.
Stella Artois Cidre represents the finest of the latter category.
“Cider drinkers are now approaching cider with a sophistication similar to that of wine drinkers,” says Marc Stroobandt, a Belgian master sommelier. “To capture their interest, ciders certainly need to be refreshing and savory, but people also want something a little more complex and distinct, which Stella Artois Cidre offers.”
Stroobant says that similar to white wines, drier ciders such as Stella Artois Cidre are designed to be savored, and pair well with chicken, fish, and a broad selection of cheeses, including Camembert-style cheeses, English cheddars, semi-firm cheeses such as Gruyere, and washed-rind cheeses. Stella Artois Cidre’s tart profile also balances well with Asian and spicy foods and light salads.
Stella Artois Cidre will be fermented in Baldwinsville, New York, using apples picked from wine-growing regions in North and South America. At 4.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), Stella Artois Cidre is available in two packaging configurations: four-packs of 12-ounce bottles and single, 24-ounce bottles.
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