Despite its intimidating name, Angry Orchard is a sweet cider brand that has introduced many Americans to the cider category. The Walden, N.Y.-based brand is never boring, offering an abundance of styles and flavors of the fruit-filled goodness.
If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, an Angry Orchard a day certainly can’t hurt. Keep reading to learn more about the American cider staple.
It’s America’s sweetheart.
When it comes to cider, it’s no question that Angry Orchard is America’s favorite brand. In fact, according to Statista, the brand sold over $220 million worth of cider on the retail market in 2019. Sales of Bold Rock, the No. 2 cider brand in the United States, reached less than $28 million that year — less than one-eighth of Angry Orchard’s sales.
Don't Miss A DropGet the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.
There’s really an orchard.
Though a famous playwright once asked, “What’s in a name?” Angry Orchard’s seems to have some meaning: The brand really does have an orchard. Visitors of the Hudson Valley-based cidery can tour the 60-acre orchard where cider has been made for over 200 years and taste exclusive draft ciders.
Angry Orchard loves ugly fruit.
What’s so angry about Angry Orchard, anyway? Apparently, the best apples for cider-making look nothing like the perfectly shiny, round ones we’re used to buying at Trader Joe’s. When brand reps toured orchards across the world, they consistently found that the apples used to make cider were acidic and tannic — ideal for fermenting, but not eating raw. Moreover, the fruit looks — for lack of a better term — angry, hence, the brand’s name.
It has a famous family.
Angry Orchard isn’t related to the Kar-Jenners, but it does have some pretty famous siblings. Owned by Boston Beer Co., Angry Orchard’s family includes brands like Truly, Dogfish Head, Samuel Adams, and Twisted Tea.
Angry Orchard is proudly gluten-free.
Celiac imbibers, rejoice! While Angry Orchard may look like beer, and while other apple-flavored beverages like Redd’s Apple Ale are deceivingly gluten-containing, Angry Orchard is made without wheat (or any other ingredients that contain gluten, for that matter). The cider is also made with gluten-free equipment, which is tested to protect against any cross- contamination.
It uses an unexpected ingredient.
Think Angry Orchard only makes apple ciders? Think again. The brand offers up a pear cider made with both apples and pears for those looking to try something new and surprising.
Though we often group ciders in with the beer category, the fermented drink is actually more like wine than beer. That’s because apples are used for cider in the same way that grapes are used for wine, and there are no malt or hops added to cider. The federal government even qualifies hard cider as wine rather than beer. So although it might sound odd, it’s more accurate to think of cider as apple-y sparkling wine.
Angry Orchard is more than an alternative.
For years, hard ciders like Angry Orchard have been seen as an alternative to beer and wine. And lately, they’ve been lumped in with the emerging category of hard seltzer. But Angry Orchard’s head cider maker, Ryan Burk, wants you to know that cider is a diverse category that is constantly innovating and growing. Burk says that he hates being compared to hard seltzer, and that the industry is “making cider that stands up to the greatest of anything.”
Angry Orchard hopped on the hazy trend.
Angry Orchard’s Unfiltered offering is less sweet than the brand’s other products, and when poured in a glass, it has a hazy appearance. Angry Orchard released the product in October 2019 — likely a reaction to the start of the hazy IPA craze, a category that remains the fastest-growing in the beer world.