New Belgium cider? It could be on the horizon. Bryan Simpson, PR director for the Fort Collins, Colorado-based brewery says New Belgium has been running cider tests for more than a year, and recently joined a cider maker industry group.
“We thought it beneficial to join the U.S. Association of Cider Makers to learn more about that segment of the industry. At this point, we’re keeping all options open, having fun and expanding our skill set. There’s more to come down the road,” he writes in an email.
Hard cider has seen its sales increase dramatically in the past few years. Market research firm IRI’s data shows that cider’s dollar sales increased more than 72% between 2013 and 2014, and a handful of breweries already have skin in that game: Boston Beer Company’s Angry Orchard line is the biggest player; Anheuser Busch-InBev recently purchased Michigan-based Virtue Cider; MillerCoors owns the Smith & Forge brand; and, on a smaller scale, Harpoon Brewery also produces cider.
And while there’s not a line of New Belgium cider quite yet, the brewery is at least exploring that avenue. That would mark a gluten-free beverage from New Belgium, which will debut two gluten-reduced beers in January: Glutiny Golden Ale and Glutiny Pale Ale.