05/08/2013 04:38 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Stella Artois Cidre An Excellent Addition To U.S. Cider Market

Stella Artois Cidre, a Belgian hard cider, hits U.S. stores in 26 states on May 13 with a national rollout planned for 2014. The cider first debuted in the U.K. in 2011.

The news comes as cider continues to gain popularity in the States. According to market research group SymphonyIRI Group, sales of hard cider for 2011-2012 clocked in at about $90 million. Cider represents just 1 percent of the total beer sales in the U.S., but sales increased by 85 percent at chain and convenience stores this year compared to the year prior.

stella artois cidre

Stella Atrois Cidre joins several other ciders from major industry players on the market. Anheuser-Busch, which owns Stella Artois, also sells Michelob Ultra Light Cider in the U.S., and this spring, Boston Beer Co. released three varieties of Angry Orchard cider.

The Huffington Post gave the cider mostly positive marks during a recent taste test. Crisp and dry, it lacks the outright sweetness that has come to characterize other hard ciders in the U.S. market, like Woodchuck's Amber cider. Earlier this week, Stella Artois's U.S. director, Rick Oleshak, explained to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the cider's dryness comes from its European brewing style. He believes it will appeal to white wine drinkers.

Editors detected floral and spicy notes in the cider's aftertaste, which is backed up by the cider's description on the Stella Artois website: "[F]ull flavours of red apple and peachy, apricot hints, complimented [sic] in the background with a subtle flavour of spicy oranges and an almond flowery character."

Most HuffPost editors found the less-sweet cider enjoyable, some preferring it to other ciders on the market. "I've never been able to drink an entire bottle of Woodchuck, it's too sweet for me," said one editor. "But this is a cider I could drink with a meal. I'd finish a whole glass of this." At least one editor, however, wasn't impressed. "This tastes disappointingly like carbonated apple juice," she said.

It's a shame this cider wasn't around when HuffPost Taste conducted a taste test of hard ciders last year. Check out the results below.

Hard Cider Taste Test, 2012