Fans of craft and artisan beverages tend to get in a ferment when their favorite craft producers is purchased by a larger company. This is particularly the case with both wine and beer geeks who, more often than cider geeks, see their favorite producer snapped up by a large or multi national company.
They worry, or assume, that the new overlords won’t pay as much attention to the quality and will sacrifice attention to detail for greater production. Often this is exactly what happens.
The recent purchase of Michigan’s Virtue Cider by AB-Inbev has caused this kind of consternation among cider geeks. Virtue Cider hit the ground running when it opened it was founded in 2011 due in large part to the ownership of Greg Hall, former brewmaster at craft beer darling Goose Island, which itself was sold to AB-InBev.
Virtue gained attention for its rich, barrel-aged ciders based on European models. The company, however, fell out of favor with many in the cider industry when it failed to pay many of its growers after suffering cash flow issues and was sanctioned by the USDA. By all accounts, growers owed money by Virtue have now been paid.
Despite the consternation fans of Virtue may feel now that the cidery is owned by one of the largest beverage companies on the planet, they should also recognize that the interest shown by In-Bev in Virtue is a sign of the growth and stability of the cider sector. It is a sign that one of the smartest, most sophisticated beverage companies in the world believes there is growth to be had in the craft cider market. And they are right.
But what cider geeks should also take into account is that despite one of their favorite ciders now being owned and controlled by a very Big Boy, there remains a large and growing number of other craft cideries equally intent on producing artisan bottlings of apple’s essence. Consolidation in the craft beverage industry, be it beer, wine, spirits or cider, is almost never cause for consternation or concern these days due largely to the fact that support for craft beverage has grown so much there will always be another producer over the hill equally dedicated to and able to produce something special.
CIDER JOURNAL REVIEWS OF VIRTUE CIDERS
Virtue Cider “The Mitton” Bourbon Barrel Aged Hard Cider — 4.5 STARS
Virtue Cider “Sidra de Nava” Hard Cider — 3.5 STARS
Virtue Cider “Nichols Farm” Estate Series Hard Cider — 4.5 STARS
Virtue Cider 2013 “Cidre Nouveau” Hard Cider — 3.5 STARS
– See more at: https://ciderjournal.com/?s=virtue#sthash.SewoldPP.dpuf