Stella Artois, a brand of St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch, is introducing Stella Artois Cidre to the surging U.S. cider market on May 13.
A crisp, distinctive European-style cider made with apples hand-picked from wine growing regions, Stella Artois Cidre initially will be available in 26 U.S. states, with further expansion possible in 2014.
Adam Oakley, VP of import, craft and specialty brands at Anheuser-Busch, said the cider category is seeing 110 percent growth in the U.S., and this new brand helps 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 said, adding that 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 in the U.S. Early growth in the category was driven primarily by sweeter domestic ciders balanced with consumer demand for drier, premium European-style ciders, according to the brand.
“Cider drinkers are now approaching cider with a sophistication similar to that of wine drinkers,” said 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.”
Stella Artois Cidre will be fermented in Baldwinsville, N.Y., 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.