It has been trending for at least two years — craft breweries are not just bottling, but canning their most popular brews. There are can-fans (even canned craft beer festivals) and of course, opposers. Beer’s fruity cousin, cider, is no exception.
Though Woodchuck Cider doesn’t quite fit into the “craft” category, it does have a nearly cult-following. Woodchuck President and CEO, Bret Williams, announced May 1 that their amber hard cider would now be available in cans.
The can craze has been met with mixed reviews by consumers across the alcoholic-beverage board. This particular topic has been bouncing around Chicago in particular as our local breweries expand to meet demand. There was quite the uproar after Goose Island started canning their 312 Urban Wheat Ale in March and now Two Brothers is canning their Outlaw IPA. Chicago Craft Beer Week is bringing this particular battle to light as both bottled and canned beverages are highlighted throughout the city.
It doesn’t matter where you stand on the bottle/can debate: we all know that a can makes for an entirely different drinking experience than a bottle. I suggest pouring it into a glass regardless of the vessel it comes in.
All Aleheads might not be ciderheads, but I think Woodchuck’s amber cider is really quite good. It’s nice in warm weather, especially when you don’t want something too heavy. It’s especially useful in social situations: for example, if you have friends who “don’t like beer” or, my personal favorite, “can’t drink beer,” cider of any kind is a great alternative so they won’t feel left out at your beer-nerd events (though, why do we invite them in the first place?). It’s also gluten-free for those people who unfortunately can’t digest gluten, or are just into that whole trend.
The idea for the Woodchuck cans apparently came from fan suggestions. Proof that they really do read your suggestions; or at least that they notice when hundreds of people suggest the same thing. According to the website, 12oz cans are available in 12 packs for $14.99 (SRP).
The announcement came in one of their “Woodchuck Hard Cider’s Cider Maker’s Corner” overly-produced promotional Youtube videos — #5 to be exact, which was uploaded and linked in a Tweet by the company on ‘May Day.’ Also according to the site, the can production process included installing a “Cask Canning Line System” and a “custom made 4,650 gallon Feldmeier Bright Beer Tank” in the Middlebury Cidery.
While the cans are the newest addition to the Woodchuck line, the bottles aren’t going anywhere, but they have changed. You might have noticed that brown bottles have replaced the green ones. Ironically, the brown bottles are “greener” than the green.
If you’ve never seen Woodchuck’s CEO, he’s exactly the kind of guy you would imagine having such a passion for cider. It’s worth watching the video just to see him sitting at his desk, flannel shirt, baseball cap and all, cracking open a can and taking a sip before exclaiming “Wow, that tastes good.”
So, is it better in the bottle or the can?
I’ll let you be the judges.