This weekend, East End Brewing Company's hard cider will be available outside the confines of its taproom for the first time ever.
East End has been producing Along Came a Cider since 2009, but due to the unclear regulations around cider production, it has only been available inside the brewery’s Larimer location.
Scott Smith, owner and founder of the brewery, explains that cider – because it’s pressed from apple juice – falls under the same federal regulations as wine. But there is a loophole, one that allowed East End to produce the cider for a decade: the state considers anything under 7.5% ABV to be beer. Clocking in at 6.5%, Along Came a Cider exists in this "limbo” between a beer and wine.
“So that’s how we’ve been able to produce and sell by the growler and glass for the last decade,” explains Smith. “Getting the approval for packaging is more of a challenge.”
“Late last year, we decided it was the right time to get all the legal stuff sorted out, so we could start offering some cans and kegs [of cider] to the outlets that already carry our beer,” Smith continues.
Along Came a Cider, described as “semi-dry,” is made of one ingredient: apple juice from Kistaco Farms in Apollo, Pa. It’s certified gluten-free, and the brewery says the cider “strikes a nice balance of apple-sweetness with a crisp, dry finish.”
Starting Feb. 22, this cider will be available by the can and case at East End’s Larimer taproom and distributed in six packs and a limited quantity of barrels by the brewery’s wholesale partner, Vecenie Distributing in Millvale.