Words & Deeds

Forget Franzia. A 3-liter box of hard cider? Made in Boise? Yes, please!

Tip, press, let it flow. At Longdrop Cider Co., a bag-in-box format is being tested with consumers.
Tip, press, let it flow. At Longdrop Cider Co., a bag-in-box format is being tested with consumers. Michael Deeds

Known for its budget friendliness, bag-in-box wine has been a grocery-store staple for decades.

So when Longdrop Cider Co. president Chris Blanchard tilts a box of hard cider on its side, presses a plastic button and fills a glass, life seems perfectly normal.

Yet it’s totally not. Like, when’s the last time you bought a box of hard cider?

Longdrop, which opened its tasting room this year in Downtown Boise, is the first cidery in Idaho to sell its product in a bag-in-box format. Few cideries have done it anywhere.

Using the pressing trailer from Northwest Mobile Juicing, Longdrop filled 300 prototype boxes in October. Each contains 3 liters, the equivalent of four bottles of wine. The company is selling the cider for $16 at its tasting room at 603 S. Capitol Blvd.

“Why isn’t anybody doing this?” Blanchard wonders aloud. “We thought it was really super-obvious.”

This apple cider is not one of Longdrop’s standard brews. Instead, it is a nameless, wild-fermented, locally pressed, pasteurized creation. It’s a “still cider,” meaning it contains no carbonation — not that typical hard ciders are massively fizzy in the first place.

The convenience factor is off the charts.

“The bag-in-box is a great camping solution for bigger groups,” Blanchard says. “Pull it out of the box and just throw the bota bag in your backpack or in your cooler on the river. It’s super easy. Easy to keep cool. Doesn’t get air in it. It’s a great way to store a product.”

Blanchard has no immediate plans to sell the boxed cider at retailers. He says it could be challenging to figure out where to display it in a grocery store. “If you put it over by the wine,” he says, “nobody’s going to know it’s there.”

“We really didn’t put together much of a market roll-out scheme,” he says. “I think it would probably do well at the Co-op or anywhere else locally if we stacked them in the right place.”

A full-color box design will be created if Longdrop adds boxed cider as a permanent product, Blanchard says.

Whatever the future holds, the boxes should be a popular holiday gift idea at Longdrop in the next few weeks.

“I think we’re going to start putting bows on them,” he says.

“Come down to the tasting room. We’re pouring samples for free on that one.”

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