My first experience with hard cider was at a beer fest in Wisconsin. A fall festival where local breweries and breweries from far away showcased their new and old cider lines. My being there was somewhat of random happenstance, but I can definitely say that it changed my life. Not in the sense that I had not had hard cider before, but more that it gave me insight into how the brewing business works.
One of the ciders that I took a liking to was from the nearby state of Michigan. I had had a number of Michigan beers up to that point, but had never tried a locally brewed hard cider from the state. I then became interested in the economy of hard cider and how it has gained popularity in the last few years.
I checked the expansion of many cider with which I was familiar, and found that there was staggering expansion going on in the hard cider industry. After viewing a few message boards, I found that ciders from a nearby town were available as far west as Utah, and as far east as New York. I was astounded that cider culture had expanded so far in so few years.
Today, it continues to be a culture that is growing in momentum. Do this: next time you go to buy beer or whatever spirits you are into, check to see how many brands of hard cider are available, and realize that a few years ago, there was really only one, the one that originated in a neighboring city in Wisconsin.