Maximizing Juice Concentrate Potential in Cider Production
Cider production is a familiar and beloved process for the Northwest Naturals team. Our product development manager is a Certified Cider Professional through the American Cider Association, and our team has worked alongside many cideries since we opened in 1980. We know cider. We know what tastes good and want to use that expertise to help cideries make the best flavor decisions for their product.
Benefits of Utilizing Juice Concentrate
One of the many reasons we, as juice concentrate producers, enjoy working with cider is because we can be more flexible with flavor profiles. With the alcohol by volume (ABV) being lower, we can utilize more subtle flavors. For example, strawberry and apricot would be outright delicious in a cider, but we might have to get more creative to have those same flavors work with beer hoppiness or the strength of hard alcohol. Working with juice concentrates opens up a range of ingredients for experimentation and the possibility of discovering something deliciously new.
Another benefit of working with juice concentrates is achieving this flavor flexibility without adding additional water to the finished cider. Adding concentrate will, however, increase the amount of sugar. The change in sugar content is vital to recognize whether you are fermenting with it or adding it post fermentation. It is not a drawback to juice concentrates, but cider makers will need to account for the added sugar.
Purees or Juice Concentrate? Which is Better?
What about purees? Are they viable substitutes? The answer depends on your desired end-product, its appearance, and how it is processed. Purees will create cloudiness and pulpiness that may have trouble filtering, but they may also provide mouthfeel and flavor that a juice concentrate does not. On the other hand, concentrates (depending on the type) will not bring cloudiness to the end product. They should also be able to filter easier. It all depends on your desired look and taste, and our team can help provide options and guide you towards that desired goal.
We work with many cideries across the country, and we have seen a trend of higher alcohol ciders or “Imperial Ciders” becoming popular. These ciders generally contain more than 7% ABV, while typical ciders have between 3.5-7% ABV.
We also see recurring requests for “lots of fruits plus blends.” These include Lemon Tea Type and Cranberry Cucumber. Some of the most creative end-products include the cider cocktail with dry cider, pommeau (apple cider mixed with apple brandy) and grapefruit cherry blend, Rainier Cherry Cider, and Cider Sangria. (View the complete list of blend and fruit concentrate products on our website.)
Lately, we are also witnessing a can shortage that may affect your cidery. If this happens to you, we can help. Northwest Naturals works with cideries all over the country, and the industry is friendly. We can connect you with other cideries willing to help. Our goal is to get your product on the shelves, and we will do our best to make it happen.
Are you a cider producer that wants to learn more or get started on a flavor? Contact us!