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Link cider to comfort and nostalgia and you'll sell more of it

Last updated January 26, 2023 · By Dylan Blake

Kyle Sherrer is the owner of Backpack Brands of Newburgh, NY, which puts out three craft brands:

  • Graft Cider, a craft cider that innovates on flavors. Think cutting edge craft beer, but for cider.
  • Hudson North Cider, a hazy dry cider brand that's lower in sugar than their competitors (like Austin Eastciders, for example).
  • Ritual Hard Kombucha, a west-coast style hard kombucha made in NY.

Kyle's been in the cider game for a long time, so it was super interesting talking to him about how bars and restaurants can sell more cider. In Kyle's mind, cider's seat at the beverage table comes from its inextricable link to comfort and nostalgia. That link means bars and restaurants are in a great spot to sell more of it.

Here's why (and how):

  • Cider may have taken a bit of a hit with seltzer's insane rise the last few years, but it's not going anywhere and is in fact well positioned to continue its growth.
  • That's because cider is uniquely positioned to be a vessel of comfort and nostalgia. From Johnny Appleseed to "American as apple pie," nothing says Americana like an apple.
  • Successful cider makers lean into this comfort and nostalgia when they're crafting their seasonals because they know people love them. (Proof: Kyle made a Bomb Pop Cider last summer that sold like hotcakes.)
  • So as a bar or restaurant, getting ciders over the finish line is what's left: your customers want comfort and nostalgia. Cider makers have intentionally crafted ciders that appeal to comfort and nostalgia. You just need to merchandise them by giving them prominence on your menus, in your bar, and in your employees' interactions with guests. If you do this with relevant seasonals, you will definitely sell more cider.

Check out the full video interview to learn more about where Kyle sees hard seltzer going, whether he thinks hard kombucha is headed for the same meteoric rise, and to hear more about how he and his team intentionally build comfort and nostalgia into all products across his three brands.