Long before cider drinking became a cultural beverage phenomenon, Strongbow General has been at the helm producing cider. For over 125 years, they have carried out the long tradition of cider making, producing ciders made from apples imported from the UK and Belgium. While the company has grown over the years, it continues to evolve within their product offerings and still remains committed to crafting non-GMO and gluten free cider. Today, they also offer new cider flavors such as red berries, cherry blossom, ginger, gold apple and honey. Swig Contributor Kristen Oliveri sits down with Jessica Robinson the Director Marketing, Portfolio brands of HEINEKEN USA to learn more about the brand and why the company is continually winning accolades and awards globally at such prestigious events such as the World Cider Championships.
Q: What is the history of Strongbow General?
A: Strongbow was founded in the 1960s by H.P. Bulmer who had a family legacy of cider-making expertise dating back to the late 1800s. Like its namesake, Richard “Strongbow” de Clare, a legendary knight known for his skill with the bow and arrow, Strongbow is keen to make its mark. From the orchard to the glass, Strongbow is inspired by the power of nature to deliver the golden, crisp refreshment in every drop of Strongbow Hard Apple Cider.
Q: What is the cider making process like?
A: After the ripest apples are harvested at our orchards in the United Kingdom and Belgium, they are washed and crushed at a mill. The pulp is pressed to extract pure juice. The apple juice is then fermented and left to mature, allowing smoother flavors to develop, akin to the process of making wine from grape juice.
Q: What types of apples are used in the process?
A: Strongbow is made with a blend of bittersweet and culinary apples, to produce a crisp, refreshing taste. We harvest nearly 2 billion cider apples each year from our 1 million apple trees in the UK and Belgium.
Q: How does it compete with other cider brands throughout the states?
A: With over 125 years of cider making heritage, Strongbow has become the number one hard cider brand in the world and the number two in the United States. Strongbow offers variety and quality to consumers through an award-winning flavor range.
Q: What are the different flavors/varietals you produce?
A: Strongbow’s flavor range includes gold apple, honey, cherry blossom and ginger. In 2017, expect more exciting flavors and varietals from Strongbow, all with no artificial colors or flavors.
Q: Given beer cocktails have come onto the beverage scene as of late, can cider be incorporated into any cocktails?
A: Strongbow can be incorporated into a variety of cocktails. While it’s traditionally enjoyed over ice, it can be added to large-format drinks like sangria thanks to its fruity notes. It can also replace many cocktail recipes that call for champagne or bubbles. The sweet and savory undertones of the different Strongbow flavors lend themselves to many different cocktail recipes and provide a refreshing and crisp addition to classic recipes. Gluten free and made with no artificial flavors or colors, Strongbow is also a popular substitute for recipes calling for beer or soda.