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Hard Cider Is (Again) Popular in America

The alcoholic drink is in style again, partially due to the popularity of gluten-free diets.

Stella Artois/Facebook

America is the midst of a hard cider boomAccording to multiple news outlets, alcoholic apple cider was a popular beverage in colonial America but since the 19th century, consumption has "declined" and the drink never really made a comeback. Today, however, thanks in part to the rise in popularity of gluten-free diets and a "deepening interest in craft brews" the sales of cider are on the up and up.

The Los Angeles Times notes that cider currently only makes up about about 1 percent of the U.S. beer market. But that figure is primed to increase. Quartz writes that many large companies are now expanding their cider offerings. One of the world’s largest beer producers, Anheuser-Busch InBev, launched Stella Artois Cidre last year. MillerCoors and Heineken are also "getting in on cider pressing." Analysts believe that Samuel Adams’ Angry Orchard cider will make up a "fifth of its sales volume" by the end of 2015.  The Herald Net reports that the Seattle Cider Summit is a "good barometer" of the growing industry: Four years ago the summit only had a dozen cideries and 40 different ciders. This past August, the summit was host to more than 40 cideries and around 160 ciders. Plus, apple-growing states like Maine are seeing a rise in local hard cider production.

The main struggle cider producers have to overcome is the current definition of cider by the U.S. government. Many in the industry feel that that the definition is "too narrow." As of now, ciders can only have 7 percent alcohol before they are taxed as wines and can only be lightly carbonated or they are taxed as sparkling wines. Producers are currently lobbying to have the alcohol by volume upped to 8.5 percent and to "mimic EU standards on carbonation." Perhaps one day cider will be as popular in the states as it is in the UK where it makes up around 15 percent of the beer market.