Cider Corner: Why Pairings Can Boost Your On-Premise Brand

Jarrod Carter started in country clubs and restaurants, so the Director of Operations for High Limb Cider is well-versed in pairings with food.

“A high amount of ‘sampling’ of both the food and beverage is always a favorite process of mine,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to have worked with a couple of the greatest culinary minds in the Northeast, so I was able to pick up a lot of knowledge along the way.”

So the Attleboro, Massachusetts cidery puts together tasting menus for its products regularly.

Atlanta’s Urban Tree consistently crafts new ciders so owner Jackie Annise and the staff typically create food pairing guides several times over the year.

“Often we will maintain the pairing recommendations for our core ciders and add in additional pairing options for our infused and seasonal ciders as we make them,” she explained.

Annise will frequently host small private groups that will request a food and cider tasting.

“These are wonderful opportunities to educate our guests on how incredibly well cider pairs with food,” she said. Most recently, due to COVID-19 and the need to transition group outings to virtual meetings, she has hosted several cider and food tastings via Zoom meetings.

“We believe it can be helpful to not only our brand but the cider industry as well,” Annise said. “Our sales team members are always knowledgeable of what ciders pair with which foods as it helps consumers and retailers understand and appreciate how versatile and transitional the beverage is.”

Carter feels that consumption is key as long as you are mindful of what you are experiencing when putting forth the effort of creating a pairing menu.

“When you focus on flavor profiles and the things you are sampling you start to catalog them in your brain and after a while, your pallet starts to tell you what’s missing or what would compliment certain flavors well,” he said. “Not only does this work well for food pairings but the actual products themselves.”

Carter explained that High Limb had some left-over Pineapple Gose-style cider from its summer release in its tanks.

“So after a pint or two (or more) I could not stop thinking about how good Jalapeno would be with it,” Carter said. “[owner] Jeremy Quaglia didn’t want to use Jalapeno so after another pint we landed on Basil which turned out to be a great overall flavor profile, but food and restaurant knowledge deserve all the credit.

​”​The refinement of this process continues as we continue to sip, sample and chomp and that mental catalog of our pallets evolve.​”​

Carter​ offers food pairings to all on-premises accounts that he meets.

“It benefits everyone in the process and ensures that a drinker experiences our product and enjoys it to the fullest,” he said. “It also offers the server or bartender added product knowledge and the ability to sell both food and beverage at a higher level.

“With cider being of smaller market share in the craft beverage world, it’s imperative to have the people with direct contact with consumers be able to speak with a higher degree of product knowledge. When they can speak confidently it makes it a much easier sell and they are now educating the guest.​”​

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