ARMADA, Mich. — As the family-owned hard cider company approaches its 5-year anniversary this fall, its production team continues to perfect current flavors, while introducing new ones.
“We’re big proponents of doing research first and not releasing liquid unless we’re truly proud to stand behind it,” said Matt McAlpine, Blake’s Production Manager. “We knew we wanted to release a Rosé made with our 100% apple cider blend and homegrown strawberries, and to achieve that, we had to wait a little longer than first desired.”
The Michigan cidery recently announced that their Rosé would be available in August in bottles, and in cans by October 1st.
“This recipe was a little more difficult to master” said cider maker, Matt Wiles. “We wanted to get that nice Rosé color from all-natural ingredients. Getting the right amount of sweetness took a few trials as well.”
The use of homegrown sweet Michigan strawberries, and the addition of rose hips give this semi-sweet the perfect balance of flavor.
“I think this is just the beginning for Rosés; we don’t see this category as a summer-only option,” said Chelsea Iadipaolo, Blake’s Marketing Manager. “We sampled Rosé wines and ciders from across the country and spent time really dialing in our recipe, it’s so balanced and the perfect cider for any occasion.”
The Blake’s website features their Rosé on its own, but also paired up with different cocktail recipes for different seasons.
While the Rosé cider category only represents about 1.5 percent of the total table wine category, its experiencing exponential growth, according to Neilsen Data. Blake’s being a regional and craft cider releasing a Rosé, puts itself in a healthy position.
Tara Nurin of Forbes stated, “While total off-premise sales dropped to $470 million from their 2015 peak of $536 million, smaller [cider] brands actually grew – 41% in 2016 and 30% in 2017…”
“The declines are driven by dips in the sales of national brands,” said Director of the USACM, Michelle McGrath. “If you look closer at the data, the real story to tell is continued double-digit growth of regional and local cider brands.”
With craft hard cider on the rise, makers are continuing to push the envelope.
“We have a lot of fun back here experimenting with ciders infused with fruits and herbs grown on the farm here, but at the end of the day, it’s still all about showcasing our homegrown apples,” said cider maker, Troy Deneen.
Blake’s Hard Cider, located on the 72-year-old Blake Farms property, is surrounded by over 800 acres of crops, including 42 different apple varieties. Rosé will be able to be located on the company’s cider finder app in August at www.blakeshardcider.com/cider-finder.