Cider Corner: 3 Keys to Optimizing Limited Releases

Using alternative fruits and fruit flavors to engage your audience is a strategy Ciderboys Hard Cider Co. has embraced with open arms.

Their limited release ciders start with an apple juice base, but complementary flavors have run the gamut from pomegranate, cherry, pineapple, raspberry, strawberry and peach.

Most recently, the Wisconsin company added Papaya to that list, with Papaya Paradise being the newest limited release cider in their lineup.

Keep them Guessing

Utilizing additional fruit flavors as complementary ingredients is something that has helped Ciderboys engage with its audience, head cidermaker Mike Schraufnagel said.

Prior to Papaya Paradise, Ciderboys tested the tropical waters with their Tropical Wave and their Tiki Colada.

“Using alternative fruits creates a buzz among Ciderboys drinkers as well as keeping them interested in our product,” he explained. “We give vague hints on social media, and our fans enjoy guessing what the next release will be.”

Easily Add Flavor

It’s often debated whether puree or juice is the best strategy when employing a flavor to complement the apple base. For the Papaya Paradise, Ciderboys checked the “other” box for the papaya element.

Pros of extracts are they’re easy to use, many are TTB-approved and they require less storage space. 

Some cidermakers and brewers argue that the flavors can taste artificial and leave an aftertaste, but Schraufnagel said consistency and ease of use were priorities when making their newest release.

“The papaya flavor comes from a natural papaya extract,” Schraufnagel said. “Extracts are easier to work with and allow for greater consistency in the end product.”

Don’t Get Too Fancy

Schraufnagel said it was important to be careful when introducing exotic fruits to your audience.

“If something is too exotic for the consumer, they may not know what the fruit flavor that is added is supposed to taste like,” he said. “It can cause some confusion and quite possibly could result in someone not wanting to make that purchase at all.”

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