Hip craft drinkers are getting medieval on their alcohol consumption by turning in droves to that staple of Middle Ages refreshment: hard cider. Here are five hard facts for those playing catch-up on this new fad.

1. The hard cider market is booming.

After gaining traction in 2013, hard cider is poised to continue its growth through 2016, according to investment advisors at Demeter Group. This good news has a caveat, however, as the same advisors predict the growing market will cut into beer sales while also drawing wine drinkers.

2. Cider has long been an American staple.

Beyond President William Henry Harrison's famed - and successful - log cabin and hard cider campaign, this sweet libation has been a dietary heavyweight in the United States for centuries. In fact, according to the National Museum of American History, the average colonial American drank 15 gallons annually.

3. A culture war is a-brewing.

Intelligence firm Euromonitor recently noted a growing distinction between cider produced from concentrate and "real cider," which uses a larger number of fresh apples. Many consumers now self-identify as "purists," fighting words that doubtlessly ensure many apples will be harmed in this culture clash.

4. The growing market encourages diversity.

As sales blossom, brands are pushing their flavor profiles beyond mere red deliciousness. Several of the more idiosyncratic brews include Angry Orchard's Apple Ginger; Woodchuck's Fall Reserve, which boasts notes of American white oak; and Crispin's Lansdowne Reserve, which features molasses.

5. Cider has a several healthy attributes.

While red wine is perhaps the most famous alcoholic beverage boasting notably nutritious properties, it may face some new competition. Most ciders are gluten-free, and although they often include plentiful sugar, they also contain antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C.


To find your new favorite cider, visit one of Binny's Beverage Depot's nearly 30 locations servicing the Greater Chicago area, or call (708) 237-7660 to reach its new store in Evergreen Park.