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Sparkling Cider: Unexpected Sophistication

Sparkling apple cider comes in two basic styles: carbonated non-alcoholic apple cider and the fermented apple ciders that have been popular for centuries in Europe that are finally earning the respect they deserve on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Both can be delicious. Let's take a look at what makes them so unique.

What is sparkling cider?

Sparkling cider is any sparkling apple or pear juice, whether or not it contains any alcohol.

Where does sparkling cider come from?

Sparkling cider can be produced anywhere in the world, as there are no geographical restrictions on the term. It is usually produced in places where apples and pears are grown, but since fruit can be shipped to the proverbial four corners of the globe, sparkling cider can be made anywhere that facilities exist to do so.

What is sparkling apple cider?

How is sparkling cider made? Sparkling cider can be made in two basic ways. For most non-alcoholic sparkling ciders, apple or pear cider or juice is carbonated by mechanical means. When it comes to the artisanal sparkling ciders that are increasingly important on the American market, the apple or pear juice or cider is fermented in a sealed container, whether it's a large tank or the bottle itself, which produces carbon dioxide that dissolves into the liquid and makes the cider sparkling. And these days, some large beverage manufacturers are combining the two, and mechanically carbonating already fermented juice or cider. It's an exciting time for sparkling cider in the United States.

What are popular brands of sparkling cider?

Among the most popular brands of sparkling cider are Martinelli's and Welch's. But there are so many to look for that it's a good idea to speak to your favorite sales associate at Total Wine for advice. When it comes to sparkling cider, sparkling apple juice, mini sparkling cider, sparkling apple, sparkling pear, or any other cider product, they'll steer you in the right direction!

Is there any alcohol in sparkling cider?

Sparkling cider alcohol content varies by style and brand. Sometimes sparkling cider is alcohol-free, and sometimes it contains about as much alcohol as a beer. Make sure to check the label.

Does Martinelli's have alcohol?

Most Martinelli's sparkling ciders do not have alcohol, but some bottlings do, like Martinelli's Old Fashioned Hard Cider. The term "hard cider" indicates that there's alcohol present.

Is sparkling cider the same as apple cider?

There are several key similarities and differences. Both are made of apples or pears, but in general, non-sparkling ciders will be like thicker, less-filtered versions of apple or pear juice. Sparkling ciders don't indicate any particular level of clarity or thickness, but instead the presence of carbonation.

Is hard cider bad for you?

Like all products with alcohol, moderation is the key. But there is nothing inherently bad for you when it comes to hard cider when considered in the context of any other alcoholic beverages.

Is cider a beer?

Beer is technically brewed from cereal grains, which apples and pears are not. However, many beer lovers have an affinity for sparkling or hard ciders. Try them for yourself—we think you'll love them.

Does cider have more alcohol than beer?

It depends on the brand. Some hard ciders have as little as 4% abv, whereas others are closer to 7% or 8%, and even more. Fifty years ago, that would have meant that they were higher than beer. But with the craft IPAs on the market right now, many of which have alcohol contents approaching 8% and higher, it's impossible to make a blanket comparison. As always, it's best to check the label of every sparkling and hard cider you're considering to see what the exact number is.

Browse our full selection of sparkling cider or check out our selection of highly-rated sparkling cider for a great new sparkling cider to try this week!