Most of us are familiar with apple cider, the delicious fall beverage, but what is hard cider? Hard cider, often referred to as “cider”, is a crisp, refreshing alcoholic beverage that has been enjoyed for centuries. Made from fermented apples, ciders exhibit a range of taste profiles from dry to fruity, similar to how different wines present a range of flavors. Hard ciders are always popular in autumn and have become even more so in recent years due to certain benefits the drink offers. In this blog, we’ll explore how ciders are made, where they come from, the different kinds of cider, and more. How Hard Cider is Made Just like non-alcoholic apple cider, hard cider is made from apples. Brewers can start the cider process by either picking their own apples or using apple juice. If starting from scratch, you can realistically use any type of apple to make cider. However, there are certain breeds of apples, called “cider apples”, that do the best job at presenting that iconic fall flavor. Once the apples are picked and cleaned, they get pressed into apple juice and are contained in a barrel. Then, the fermentation process can begin. Apple juice can naturally ferment on its own with natural yeast from the fruit, or yeast can be added in to produce different flavors or styles. To ferment, it’s best to keep the juice between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. As the juice ferments, brewers will move the liquid into new barrels over time. This is done so that any inactive yeast is removed from the cider, preserving the flavors. The length of the fermentation period will differ depending on the type of cider being made, ranging from a few weeks to a few years. Once the liquid has had its time to ferment, the cider is complete and ready for bottling. The product is then pasteurized, killing off any remaining bacteria left behind. Finally, it’s ready to drink! Where Did Hard Cider Originate? Hard cider is as ancient as Julius Caesar. In fact, the first written record we have of hard cider is from 55 BCE when Caesar first attempted to invade Britain. He encountered native Celts fermenting crabapples to produce the delicious drink and must have taken a liking to it! Though this is the first written record of hard cider, scholars are not entirely sure exactly when the brewing practice originated. Different Types of Hard Ciders When categorizing hard ciders, you can do so by taste profile or by origin. The different taste profiles of hard cider are: Dry Off-dry Semi-dry Semi-sweet These tastes are determined by the amount of sugar content in the cider. Less sugar content creates a drier cider, while more sugar will create a sweeter flavor. Ciders are brewed around the world, but certain countries are known for high volumes of cider production. The most notable are Brittany, Normandy, and France, but in general, the UK produces the most cider in the world per capita. What Are the Benefits of Hard Cider? There are several benefits to drinking cider that make it such a sought-after beverage, especially in the fall. For starters, ciders have a similar alcohol content to beer but will typically cause less bloating. This makes it an attractive choice for those who struggle with feeling too full after drinking beer. Additionally, most ciders are naturally gluten-free, allowing those with gluten sensitivities an alternative and delicious option to traditional beer. Since cider is made from fermented apples, it contains a good amount of Vitamin C and antioxidants. Additionally, ciders are usually a great option for those who don’t enjoy the taste of beer. The apple flavor is typically very palatable and easy to enjoy. Can Hard Cider be Served on Tap? The benefits of hard cider don’t end with the consumer – bars can also benefit from cider sales, as this drink has become increasingly popular in recent years. Cider can be served in bottles or on tap, and a fresh draft cider provides an even better-tasting experience for customers. Serving cider on tap can also provide a higher return on investment than bottles, gaining even more revenue for businesses. Does your bar serve hard cider on tap? At Glacier, we’re big fans of all kinds of ciders, and as draft system experts we can help you gain profits from serving the autumnal drink by installing a tap system at your establishment. We’ve worked with countless bars, breweries, and restaurants over the years to design and install custom systems, and we love getting to work with new business owners on their draft vision. If you’re interested in a custom draft system, give us a call at 877-617-BEER. We can’t wait to see your ideas and help you gain customers and profits from draft sales.