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Austin Eastciders debuts line of superdry, 100-calorie ciders

Arianna Auber
Austin Eastciders launches a new line of 100-calorie ciders, starting with brut, in August. [Contributed by Julia Keim]

Call it the White Claw effect, perhaps.

Consumers have clamored for lower-calorie alcoholic beverages, and after seeing the success of the hard seltzer that has already become a household name, other brands stepped up to offer similar products. For example, Oskar Blues branched out from beer to launch Wild Basin Boozy Sparkling Water earlier this year.

And next month, Austin Eastciders will roll out a new, permanent line of ciders with 100 calories and two grams of sugar but a promise of all the flavor of the company's current canned options, which include rosé, blood orange and ruby red grapefruit. The cans launching in August — starting with brut, a flavor that originally launched last year at a higher caloric count — have the words "Just 100 Calories" emblazoned on the front of the can.

To be clear, none of the current Eastciders flavors are all that high in calories. Eastciders lists nutrition facts on every can, and the original brut flavor that launched in December as an alternative to New Year's Champagne has 120 calories and 3 grams of sugar.

Some of the other Eastciders flavors aren't quite so low, calorie-wise. The summery lemon ginger cider, part of the Maker's Stash line, is 180 calories. One of Eastciders' newest flavors (and my personal favorite), watermelon, clocks in at 150 calories.

But the new brut and all subsequent flavors in the superdry, 100-calorie line are intended to satisfy a particular niche in the marketplace, according to Eastciders.

They "fill a gap for consumers looking for an elevated taste experience that fits into their low-sugar, low-calorie lifestyle,” Dave Rule, Eastciders' vice president of marketing, said in a news release. “Our cidermakers created a refreshing, champagne-like drink that doesn’t compromise on flavor or quality.”

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I managed to dig up my last of the original brut cans in my beer fridge to compare it, taste-wise, to the new brut cider. There's only a subtle difference in taste, so barely apparent that I didn't notice it on first sip. But it really is just a little bit dryer, a little bit crisper, and that nuance is significant — I found myself preferring the new version for its near-absence of sweetness. One gram of difference in sugar levels, apparently, is a lot.

The 100-calorie brut is also lower in alcohol, at 4.2 percent ABV versus its counterpart's 5 percent. It'll release in six-packs and on draft in August. But if you want something like it a little sooner, Eastciders' Collaboratory released a cucumber superdry cider Thursday that is available only in the tasting room at 979 Springdale Road.

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