Canned product debuted in late April at grocers

Austin's rapidly growing craft brew market welcomed a unique entry in October.

Craft cider company Austin Eastciders debuted in October with Gold Top cider, which is now available on tap in more than 50 locations. In late April, the cidery debuted its first canned product, Eastciders Original, at select H-E-B and Whole Foods Market locations.

The transition from restaurants and bars to the retail market has proven challenging yet successful so far for founder Ed Gibson, who came to Austin from his native England. He touts his cider as a smooth, "non-pretentious" alternative for American beer-drinkers.

"In England, cider is an alternative to beer because it's dryer than [what is served] here," said Gibson, who estimated the England cider market makes up 15 percent of all alcohol sales—versus 1 percent in the U.S. "Here in America, cider is pitched as a wine alternative, so we're trying to create a genuine alternative to beer that is less sweet."

Despite the product's name, Gibson has not yet started production on Austin's east side. He is working out of a winery in Marble Falls until his new production facility at the former U.S. Foods distribution facility on Springdale Road is ready for move-in by late June to early July. He intends on having a tasting room with exclusive ciders on tap on-site.

"I really want it to become a destination," he said.

Austin Eastciders, 979 Springdale Road,