Alcoholic cider-making is an age-old tradition. When water was scarce or contaminated, cider was a go-to drink. Over time, however, cider began to get a bad rap since it was not really beer, not quite wine, and definitely not a spirit until 2011, when Angry Orchard came on the scene with an innovative interpretation of hard cider. Boston Beer Company wanted to put their own spin on their new hard apple cider with a name that cut through the clutter, embodied big personality, and made a statement.
Unlike apples you’d find at the grocery store, some of the best apples for making cider actually look gnarly—almost disgruntled. These apples produce a more tart, tannic juice, so they are perfect for cider. “Angry Orchard” spoke to the appearance of the apples while also sounding a bit unruly and wild, differentiating it from the tamer, non-alcoholic ciders.
In 2012, it was introduced nationwide and quickly captured 40% of the United States hard cider market, rising to 58% by 2015 and comprising 20% of the Boston Brewing Company’s output. NameStormers went on to help Boston Beer Company name three Angry Orchard Varietals: Apple Ginger, Apple Crisp and Traditional Dry.