The brand that started the American cider revolution marks their Silver Anniversary with Ciderstock Music Festival, new packaging, and new brands
Woodchuck Cider® – the brand that started the American cider revolution – is turning 25 this year, and parent company Vermont Cider Company™ is marking the milestone by re-focusing efforts on its core cider styles and hosting an intimate gathering for 10,000 fans known as Ciderstock.
“Over the course of 25 years, we’ve gotten to know the industry like few brands do,” said Terry Hopper, President, Vermont Cider Company. “That perspective has given us a unique and deep understanding of the cyclical nature of cider and has made us better prepared to weather the ups and downs. As we look to the future, we feel it’s time to get back to our roots, and our 25th anniversary is the ideal time to start.”
Chuck is Back
From its roots in a two-car garage with hand-filled bottles, laying the foundation for what today is approaching a 30 million-case industry, Woodchuck Hard Cider has been at the center of cider consumption for more than two decades. And, Woodchuck is about “Chuck,” the beloved mascot.
“We let Chuck take a sabbatical, but now he’s back,” said Hopper. “But, as someone who has been around for 25 years, he’ll have a bit more of an attitude.”
Beginning in August, “Chuck” will be making a return to the packaging, advertising and marketing initiatives driving brand recognition and sales growth for the company’s four core styles: Amber, Granny Smith, the new Semi-Dry and a rotating seasonal line.
“With the addition of Semi-Dry, the original hard cider brand will have a cider for all consumer palates, from sweet to dry,” Hopper added.
Gumption – The Circus of Ciders
Released in 2015, Gumption is a bold and audacious brand which has been wildly successful with consumers. Gumption will now be marketed as its own brand with its own line extensions. The original Gumption brand – inspired by PT Barnum – will be joined by a second, year-round style, to launch in 2017. In addition, the company will launch the year-round Gumption Late Show six-pack. The package will remain the same, but the liquid will regularly change.
“This is where we get to be crazy,” said Ben Calvi, Director of Cider Making. “We’re going to create the circus of ciders and push the boundaries of what cider can be through wild concoctions of bold flavors and spices. The liquid will change every 90 days, because no one wants to see the same show again and again.”
The Best of Vermont
Consumer options at the premium price point have been limited. Beginning in November, Vermont Cider Co. will fill the high-end niche with a new cider, Addison, made from 100 percent fresh pressed juice sourced only from Vermont and Northeastern orchards.
“Named for Addison County, where Woodchuck has its roots, the Addison line is an homage to Vermont, the cradle of civilization for hard cider in the US,” said Hopper. “For this flagship cider, we’ll be using premium yeasts and longer, cooler fermentations to capture and promote the delicate fresh apple flavors, with no sugar added.”
Addison will be a year-round core style, available in 12-ounce bottles and 16 ounce cans. Additionally a barrel-aged line will release seasonal offerings throughout the year.
A cider for every taste.
“The Vermont Cider team is exceptionally proud of the heritage and the craftsmanship behind our domestic and imported cider brands,” said Hopper. “The clarity of our new portfolio strategy means we can let our brands be who they are naturally: Woodchuck can thrive as a result of its renewed clarity in the everyday occasion; Gumption will capture consumers looking for new and interesting ciders; Addison will appeal to consumers seeking high-end and regional options; Magners® is the second largest cider brand in the world and can compete in the imported segment; and for consumers looking for a west coast lifestyle brand, we have Wyder’s®.
“And, our partnership with Pabst means that we have the feet on the ground to make this vision a reality.”
To cap off the Woodchuck’s 25th Anniversary, Ciderstock will again assemble top musical talent on the field behind the Vermont Cidery. Now in its third year, Ciderstock, a day-long celebration of all things cider, has become a destination music festival in New England. The August 20 festival features Sublime With Rome and Dirty Heads with openers Wild Adriatic and Villanelles.
“Great live music, delicious ciders and the best food trucks that Vermont has to offer make Ciderstock a can’t miss culmination to our first 25 years,” said Hopper.
About Vermont Cider Co.
Vermont Cider Co. introduced the U.S. to the craft cider category 25 years ago. Dedicated exclusively to cider making, they are the proud producers of the original American hard cider, Woodchuck®, the west coast native, Wyder’s® Cider, and importers of Magners® Irish Cider and Blackthorn®. With an unparalleled focus on quality and innovation, the cider producer leads the category in releasing the most premium liquid and pioneering new ciders using the finest ingredients. With two award winning Cider Makers, Vermont Cider Co. produces and distributes out of Middlebury, VT, blending together the passion of their fans, their creativity, and their home within the green mountains.