Beth Demmon may be best known for covering the beer industry as a columnist for San Diego Magazine, in her Substack newsletter Prohibitchin’, and as a freelance beverage writer. But in her upcoming first book — The Beer Lover’s Guide to Cider: Discovering Familiar Flavors in a Brand New Beverage — she’s connecting her beer background with her passion for hard cider.
Inspired in part by her own pull toward cider, American Cider Association Certified Cider Professional and recent CiderCon® panelist Demmon seeks to lead beer consumers and professionals toward familiar flavors and clarify why these readers may gravitate to different cider regions, styles or production approaches. As for the already converted, cider consumers and professionals can expect an insider’s look at converting beer drinkers into cider customers; insight on the future of consumer habits, tastes and demands; and a digestible look at cider tasting, production and terminology through the lens of another popular and historic beverage.
In anticipation of the fall 2023 release of The Beer Lover’s Guide to Cider, here are four questions for author Beth Demmon:
Cidercraft: You’re best known as a beer writer. What drew you to writing a book about cider rather than a book about beer?
Beth Demmon: I’d say it’s a 50/50 split between personal palate development and professional observations on beverage alcohol at large. As someone who writes mainly about beer, I’m honestly just a little burned out by drinking only beer. Reported data indicates I’m not alone! I didn’t know nearly as much about cider as I do beer when I first started trying different ciders, and when I began looking at what cider books already exist, the vast, vast majority of them are either how to make your own cider at home, or explorations into the history of cider in various regions. Many of these books assume people are already drinking cider, not trying to entice them to become new consumers, which is what I hope to do with my book.
Looking at how craft beer has exploded over the past 20 years, it’s optimistic to compare craft cider’s potential, but I think if people really knew what’s out there in terms of available products, cider in the United States could be much bigger than it is today.
Cidercraft: Can you tell me something about cider that surprised you while working on the book?
BD: The biggest surprises for me were a lot of the hopped ciders I tried over the course of sampling for the book. Hops are used in a completely different way for cider than they are in beer, and the way they express themselves is a great encapsulation of finding something familiar to beer lovers, but experiencing it with a new perspective.
Cidercraft? What can readers expect from The Beer Lover’s Guide to Cider?
BD: It introduces readers to ciders and cideries across the United States they didn’t know about, but the ultimate goal is for people to use it as a jumping-off point to find even more ciders than what ends up listed in the book. The ciders in the book aren’t the end-all, be-all list of what to try, or even the “best” ciders out there. It’s primarily to show people the huge diversity of cider styles being made, and encouraging them to explore their own palates with a foundational understanding of what’s likely a new beverage to them.
Cidercraft: Does this book have a place on the shelf of someone who already considers themself a cider enthusiast?
BD: I think — I hope! — this book lands on the shelves of anybody who has any level of interest or involvement in the American craft cider scene. This book is primarily for the cider curious, but I do plan to include “ciders for the cider lover” as well that don’t necessarily have a tie-in to beer.