Cider production - additional information
There are two types of cider in the United States: traditional cider which is referred to as hard cider, and sweet or soft cider. The former is an alcoholic beverage produced from fermented apple juice. Hard cider was brought into the U.S. by 17th century British settlers, as a safer alternative to water. Sweet cider is usually consumed in the U.S. during the colder months, especially during holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. In some parts of the country, sweet cider is frequently served warm and mulled with spices.
Cider styles are classified into traditional, heavy with complex flavor, pale and light fruity ciders, depending on its alcohol content which varies from 1.2 percent to below 8.5 percent ABV. Cider manufacturers in Northwest France and Southwestern England prefer using cider apples, although nearly any type of apple can be used to make cider. Cider apples are categorized into sweet, bittersweet, sharp and bitter sharp.
In 2015, Michigan and California were the second and third-largest cider producing states, with 41 and 40 cider manufacturers respectively. Out of 426 U.S. cider makers, 297 were traditional cideries. In 2014, Angry Orchard was the leading U.S. cider brand with retail sales amounting to approximately 214.5 million U.S. dollars.