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Old 06-07-2013, 01:34 PM   #1
sashurlow
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Jan 2011
West Rutland, Vermont
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Yesterday in my local grocer I saw a bottle of Stella Artois Cidre. It had a label that said "Made with hand picked apples". I realize that Stella is Anheuser-Inbev but why not try a Belgium mass produced cider. Ingredients list: "Hard Cider (water, apple juice concentrate, dextrose), water, sucrose, natural flavor, malic acid, sodium citrate, natural colors" What happened to my hand picked apples??? Its not even imported!!! The label claims "Anheuser-Bush; Baldwinsville, NY" I realize most every apple is handpicked at somepoint in time in its life, but come on! Stupid marketing...
The taste is not bad, but you can taste the dextrose and sucrose and "natrual flavors". Won't buy it again. Forutunately I could buy only one bottle so I'm not stuck with five more.

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Old 06-08-2013, 03:31 PM   #2
LeBreton
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Nov 2011
Finger Lakes, NY
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Everybody and their brother is jumping into the cider game these days. This is the second AB-InBev cider product, along with Michelob Ultra-Lite Cider, both made at the Baldwinsville plant.

Haven't tried it, probably wont.
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Old 06-09-2013, 04:56 PM   #3
Jacob_Marley
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Sep 2011
Detroit
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>> What happened to my hand picked apples??? Its not even imported!!!

The apple juice concentrate they list may very well be imported. Imported from China that is.

>> "Made with hand picked apples"

Automated technology still hasn't quite figured out how to judge the ripeness of individual fruit ... so most apples are "hand picked". I don't know if they've made much headway in this either (LeBreton is likely more familiar with this than I am).
And besides, labor is dirt cheap in China.

So Stella is referring to the standard harvest method for apples as if it is premium or special. The unsophisticated consumer doesn't know the difference.
Just slightly the Irwin Mainway school of marketing.

 
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:56 PM   #4
gregbathurst
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Apr 2009
Australia
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Actually in Europe cider apples are allowed to ripen until about 1/3 of the fruit has dropped. Then the rest are shaken off the tree with a mechanical shaker and the apples are collected from the ground with a mechanical sweeper. So to advertise apples as hand picked means they aren't proper cider apples.
If you travel in somerset you will see the cider orchards are standard trees with a big space between the lower branches and the ground, to allow easy access for the mechanical harvesters.

 
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:28 AM   #5
LeBreton
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Nov 2011
Finger Lakes, NY
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As per my understanding, mechanical apple harvesters are not used here in the US and it is illegal to sell drops, or apples which have fallen to the ground for any reason, due to contamination risk. You don't see shakers or sweepers in this country, making all apples in the US are hand-picked. There are no special rules for cider apple as opposed to fresh apple harvesting.

None of the larger cider producers in the US use 'cider' apples to my knowledge. There just aren't enough being grown currently, and those few folks who do grow them are craft cider producers themselves and use their entire crop. I'd guess that the entire US grows approximately 100 acres of bittersharps and bittersweets, although I think that's rapidly changing.

Jacob_Marley is correct that many (most?) apple products which are made from concentrate are imported from abroad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowa State University Said
The United States imported nearly 1.9 million kiloliters of apple juice in 2011, valued at nearly $715.8 million. The top source was China, followed by Argentina, Chile and Brazil. Imports are mostly concentrated non-frozen. According to FAS, apple juice imports from China have increased from a 10 percent share of domestic apple juice consumption to 60 percent share in 2008.

Due to the surge of low-priced apple juice from China, the United States imposed antidumping duties on all imports of Chinese non-frozen apple juice concentrate in May 2000. The antidumping duties range from 9 percent to 52 percent. The antidumping duties were reviewed by the U.S. International Trade Commission in 2005. The existing order on imports of certain non-frozen concentrated apple juice from China remain.
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Old 06-10-2013, 05:34 AM   #6
gregbathurst
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Apr 2009
Australia
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Yes, but stella was presumed by the OP to be Belgian. A European brand should know that "hand picked" in Europe means inferior cider apples.

It doesn't make economic sense to make cider from hand-picked apples. Usually hand-picked means fruit rejected because of cosmetic reasons. Cider should be made from fruit ripened until it starts to fall from the tree, if it hasn't started to fall yet it isn't ripe enough. I realise Americans are squeamish about fruit that has touched the ground (unclean!) but there is no logic behind this when making a fermented drink.

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Old 06-10-2013, 11:38 AM   #7
LeBreton
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Nov 2011
Finger Lakes, NY
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I'm with ya on both points. Especially since juice must be pasteurized before being sold to the public, or it's fermented, making it safe no matter what. At leased apples are rinsed before pressing, I bet 90% of Americans would stop drinking wine if they knew what goes into the vats along with the grapes.

Anyways, ya gotta love what information uninformed marketing departments hype to the ignorant public. There's a American cider which boasts 'a unique double fermentation process which develops a natural carbonation'. Pretty sure bottle conditioning hasn't been 'unique' since the middle ages.

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Old 06-11-2013, 02:06 AM   #8
hehawbrew
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Feb 2013
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I saw/bought this cider for the first time tonight. That hand picked label is what I saw first too!

It tasted okay, but wasn't worth 7.99 for a four pack. The bottles are neat tho!

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Old 06-13-2013, 04:34 PM   #9
Kashue
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Aug 2012
Cincinnati, Ohio
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I actually like Michelob AND Stella's ciders. I guess I'm vulgar lol.

Keep in mind that the US is actually one of the few remaining places where Stella Artois beer IS imported from Belgium and not just made locally.

 
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Old 07-13-2013, 02:52 PM   #10
UpstateMike
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Nov 2011
Brockport, NY
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Ok, I tried a bottle of Stella Artois Cidre last week. Actually I should say I tried half a bottle, because it tasted so awful I had to dump the rest down the sink. It should be renamed "STELLA! This is ATROCIOUS cider!"
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