Cider Corner: More Reasons to Consider Low ABV Options

Adding low ABV offerings is becoming a focal point for numerous breweries, cideries and taprooms that are embracing innovation and more ways to connect with customers.

The Cincinnati, Ohio region is not an area that is teeming with craft cideries, but Northwood Cider Company is among those in the adult beverage industry that have found reason to prioritize making beverages under 5% ABV.

Sesh — a session cider at 4% ABV — is the region’s first session cider, said co-owner Darrin Wilson. And keeping people occupied at the taproom during hours not usually associated with adult beverage consumption was one thing the cidery took into consideration when making the new beverage.

“Session ciders are a great addition to our portfolio, not just through packaging, but also in the taproom,” Wilson said. “We do a lot of programming ourselves, and with community partners during the weekends. 

“Most activities happen late morning or early afternoon, such as yoga and Off Pike Market, so Sesh is a good pairing for those wanting to enjoy a drink without the impact of higher ABV beverages. For us, it’s just about giving customers options.”

In addition to having a lower ABV, Sesh comes in at under 100 calories, and its made with fresh apples and real guava.

“We think session ciders are a good alternative for folks that are wanting something on the lighter side, but still want to stay with a product that’s made with real fruit, from fermentation to backsweetening,” Wilson said.

They’re proud of being first and being able to stake that claim matters to Wilson, he said, noting that it accomplishes two things for the fledgling cidery, which opened its doors last year and only began canning a few months ago.

“Building awareness and educating — and they go hand in hand,” Wilson said. “Just as with any new beverage, there’s always those that want to try it just because it’s new. Sesh helps us build brand awareness with those that already like cider, and those who may be more light seltzer or beer drinkers, but never saw cider as an option. 

Sesh also helps Northwood educate and tell the story of cider by giving them another opportunity to show people how diverse and innovative the cider category can be, he said. 

“The same juice we used from a pressing run to make our berry and basil cider, was also used to make our session cider, and sharing that with the customer shows them the versatility of cider,” Wilson noted.

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