The Year of Rosé Cider Is Upon Us
America's rosé obsession has infiltrated yet another industry. All sorts of products from vodka to gummy bears to jelly have garnered buzz by going the way of rosé. Now, three major cideries have recently released rosé varieties bringing the cider industry to peak pink madness.
Rosé cider is nothing new. From more mainstream brands like Original Sin, makers of Dry Rosé Cider, to hipper brands like Citizen Cider, the people behind the much-hyped Brosé, pink ciders are already readily available. But this week, Angry Orchard—America's largest cider brand—released its Rosé hard cider. This launch follows hot on the heels of a new rosé cider from the MillerCoors-owned Crispin Cider Company, as well as a new rosé cider from Vermont's Shacksbury Cider, one of the country's best and most forward-thinking, nationally-distributed craft cideries. Together, it all adds up to an official coming out party for traditional cider's pink counterpart.
"We see the rosé cider trend mirroring the overall rise in interest in rosé wines in recent years," explains Shacksbury co-founder David Dolginow. "Just as rosé wines are playful, fun, and beautiful in the glass, so too are rosé ciders. Rosé ciders have the added benefit of having a lower ABV than wine, which makes them easy to enjoy with food or outside during warmer months."
So how does a cider go rosé? The methods are surprisingly diverse. "There's no one easy answer to how a rosé cider gets its color and flavor. It's all over the map," says Dolginow, whose Shacksbury Rosé is available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans. "Some producers use berries or red fruits or hibiscus, others go for extract or red food coloring. In our case, we elected to age our cider on Marquette grape skins from Vermont wineries; the only ingredients are Vermont apples and Vermont grape skins. The Marquette skins add some exciting tannin, complexity, and structure to the cider, and also give it that really pretty pink color in the glass. For us, this approach made sense because it allowed us to work with friends here in Vermont and drew direct inspiration from the world of winemaking."
In Angry Orchard's case, the brand's Angry Orchard Rosé—which is available in six- and 12-packs of 12-ounce bottles—uses a red-fleshed variety of French apple known as Amour Rouge along with blend of common culinary apples, including varieties like Gala, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. The cidery also adds other ingredients, including a hint of hibiscus. "The rare red flesh apples used in our Rosé not only impart complex flavors but contribute to the cider's beautiful rosy hue," Ryan Burk, Head Cider Maker of Angry Orchard, said in a statement. "It's crisp, refreshing, and unlike any other style we have crafted."
Meanwhile, Crispin Rosé—which is currently available in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles—starts with a base of both apple and pear juice before achieving its color with the help of rose petals and hibiscus. In Crispin's case, the brand's Vice President of Brand Marketing Ashley Selman said it's specifically targeted at women. "We have a big opportunity with Crispin Rosé with female drinkers," said Selman. "We've been listening to and following them for a while, so we're excited to finally bring female drinkers a rosé cider with quality ingredients that only Crispin can provide."
Needless to say, with so many big names jumping on the rosé cider trend, you should have no trouble finding a pink cider on store shelves. But if rosé ciders aren't quite your thing, don't give up on cider just yet: America's current cider scene offers the most diverse selection of ciders since before the days of Prohibition.