Texans no longer have to wish that grapefruit season could be all year round.
The simultaneously tart and sweet citrus fruit grown in our state’s Rio Grande Valley is the centerpiece of Austin Eastciders’ newest canned cider. Cans of the Ruby Red Grapefruit Cider will hit store shelves later this month.
It’s the sixth cider to be canned from the beloved local drink brand, after the cidery’s most recent release of the Blood Orange Cider in early spring last year. Eastciders wasn’t sure whether to follow up one citrus cider with another, but grapefruit was just too tasty, Chris Lowrey, Eastciders’ brand manager, said.
“When we were deciding between that and a bunch of other ones, it was like, ‘Should we follow (the Blood Orange) up with another citrus flavor?’” he said. “At the end of the day, we thought it was just too good to pass up. We hope it does well. It’s nice timing, too, ramping up for the summer.”
A dusky orange, the Ruby Red Grapefruit Cider is tart — with just the barest funky note — but, as with Austin Eastciders’ five other canned ciders, the slightly sweet, nuanced blend of bittersweet and dessert apples shines through cleanly.
One of Austin’s fastest-growing beverage companies, Eastciders opened a Southeast Austin facility in 2016 about seven times bigger than the old railroad station on Springdale Road where cidery co-founder Ed Gibson began to grow the business. The new facility allowed the brand to truly take off.
But Eastciders’ original location has found a purpose, too. It opened last fall as a tasting room where cider fans can enjoy both the mainstay cans and small-batch offerings like Cucumber Cider, Bourbon Barrel-aged Cider and, yes, the Ruby Red Grapefruit Cider. The cider was one of the tasting room’s first offerings in November.
For about two weeks, Austin Eastciders has teased the arrival of the new cider, asking for guesses on social media about the flavor without revealing what it is.
There were hundreds of responses, testament to Eastciders’ popularity. Some of them correctly guessed it — perhaps because the flavor is both irresistible and ubiquitous now in beverages ranging from vodka to sparkling water.
Austin Eastciders Ruby Red Grapefruit will go on tap in the tasting room on Feb. 25. The cans will launch at a release party at Hotel Vegas on Feb. 24 and again at the tasting room at 979 Springdale Rd. on Feb. 25. Look for them in bars and stores around Austin and Eastciders’ wider footprint starting on Feb. 26.