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“Says I, I’ll try cider, I’ve heard that it’s good”

We know all about the local beer-brewing scene here, but did you know there was a burgeoning trade in cider as well?

By the time Jake Schiffer was ready to incorporate Leprechaun Cider Co. in the spring of 2010, he had a business plan, enough funding to cover startup costs and an orchard lined up to provide the kind of apples he wanted, and handle the fermentation and bottling of the product.

All he needed was his parents’ signature on the paperwork, since he was only 20.

“It’s been a learning experience for all of us,” says Schiffer, who has since reached legal age.

Leprechaun Golden Cider hit the Houston market in March, but only on draft. In mid-September, 22-ounce bottles of the sparkling alcoholic beverage went on sale at retail prices of $6 to $7.50 each in stores and around $9 in restaurants.


Leprechaun joins a U.S. cider market that, although tiny in comparison with the beer market, grew by 10 percent last year. A recent analysis attributed that to increased investment and marketing by Green Mountain Cider, the U.S. market leader, as well as growing consumer demand.

“The growth of premium regional draught cider products (many of them on tap) has mirrored the growth of craft beer and these two segments share a somewhat similar consumer positioning,” the report said.

He currently contracts with an orchard in Oregon for his apples, but hopes to grow them in the state some day. Tiffany is the cider drinker in our house, and she plans to be on the lookout for Leprechaun.

By the way, the title of this post is taken from the cider-themed song “Johnny Jump Up”:

It’s a fun song to sing, but I doubt it’ll be adapted for a marketing campaign any time soon.

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  1. souperman says:

    Specs Online shows it for $6.31/22oz bottle; I’m also intrigued, though it’d need to be pretty good to be a better value than Strongbow, which sells for $9.99/6pk of 12oz bottles, or a liter bottle of Blackthorn for $4.64.

    I’ll look for it the next time I happen to make my way to Smith Street. It’ll probably take some time to make it to most of the neighborhood stores.

  2. furioso ateo says:

    I’ve had Leprechaun at Catbird’s. It’s way too sweet. I tend to prefer drier ciders and drinks in general, so keep that in mind, but I think it’s just way too sweet period. Like Apple Juice sweet almost. Also kind of dull, not much complexity at all. Now that we have a local cider, I’ll be sure to order Leprechaun whenever I want a cider, but it definitely isn’t going to be the cider that turns that into a regular occurrence.