How can I import foreign drinks in the US?
May 30, 2007 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Is there any way I can obtain non-mainstream European brands of hard cider in the US?

I had some hard ciders during a recent trip to the UK, specifically Kopparberg (and Weston's, although I liked the Kopparberg more so it's the focus of my search) but on my return I find that they don't seem to export it to anyplace outside of a few European countries. Being somewhat of a neophyte at world travel and foreign relations in general, I have no idea where to look to try and obtain some locally (NYC area).

I'm thinking there might be companies that specialize in small-scale importing like this, or perhaps some mega liquor store that stocks every single beer and cider under the sun, or some other option I can't think of.

Googled for the more obvious things, but e.g. "kopparberg cider new york city" doesn't turn up anything terribly useful.
posted by cyrusdogstar to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
According to the Wikipedia entry on cider, Kopparberg is sold at IKEA in the UK. Might be worth a call to one of your local IKEAs.
posted by candyland at 8:12 PM on May 30, 2007

BeerAdvocate's reviews suggest that some Kopparberg has made it to MA and VT, so you could always contact the brewery and see if it still has a US importer. If not, then you're probably out of luck unless you can find someone to small-scale-import it in personal luggage. Weston's exports seems to be confined to Canada.

Ah, Weston's Old Rosie in the Turf on an autumn evening...
posted by holgate at 8:15 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

As to my understanding, this place has the largest selection of beers/ciders available in the US. I have recently tried obtaining some Finnish beer not available anywhere, and these guys told me that there's no way to get some of these obscure beers.
posted by wile e at 8:15 PM on May 30, 2007

Around here (Canada) these ciders are typically sold in single-serving bottles. It is my understanding that in the USA, only alcoholic beverages that are malt-based can be sold in single-serving containers. So many such beverages are not available in the US, and when you find the same brand it's a different drink (e.g. Smirnoff Ice coolers are vodka-based elsewhere and malt-based in the US).
posted by winston at 8:18 PM on May 30, 2007

Since I stopped drinking 12 years ago it isn't something I pay close attention to, so my info may be out of date.

...only alcoholic beverages that are malt-based can be sold in single-serving containers... That didn't used to be the case. "Wine Coolers" were common, and you used to be able to buy rum-based mixed drinks in single-serving bottles.

I've seen hard cider sold in stores, too. I don't know of any requirement for malt.

My suggestion would be to seek out specialty stores and ask them about it. Your chances of success will vary a great deal depending on where you are. Fortunately, hard cider's alcohol content lands it in the middle of beer-and-wine territory, which is much less heavily regulated. (Here in Oregon, distilled liquor can only be purchased for takeout at a state store.)

Mailorder of alcoholic beverages across state lines is quite a problem legally, mostly because of tax and paperwork issues. Few retailers are willing to put up with the hassle, so I doubt you'll have much luck with that.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:34 PM on May 30, 2007

Set up a trade with another user of Beer Advocate, referenced above.

It will be expensive to ship, but if you really want it it's really your best option.
posted by Roach at 8:38 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]

It is my understanding that in the USA, only alcoholic beverages that are malt-based can be sold in single-serving containers.

There may be states where that is true, but I can definitely buy 12 oz bottles of cider in Illinois (but, sadly, not the brands in the original question).
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 8:41 PM on May 30, 2007

The hard ciders I saw when I lived in NY were malt + cider.
posted by winston at 8:44 PM on May 30, 2007

BevMo ships a wide variety of ciders, and although they don't have the brands you are looking for, you can request them.

There's a lot more variety available here than there used to be, ranging from dry to sweet, domestic and imported. If you try some different brands, you'll likely find one that suits your tastes. Stay away from Hornsby's though. That stuff is vile.

Regarding IKEA, the ones that I've been to in the U.S. don't sell any alcoholic beverages.
posted by Otis at 9:11 AM on May 31, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, guys! I've been to the IKEA near here many times (meatballs++) and don't recall seeing any alcohol, so I think Otis is right. I'll make sure to check next time I'm there, though.

I welcome any further replies, as usual, but for now, thanks for the links/suggestions and I'll be checking them out. Otherwise, I'll be familiarizing myself with the domestic brands that I can find nearby and they'll have to do (was tempted to post a bonus question for such recommendations but decided against it).
posted by cyrusdogstar at 12:04 PM on May 31, 2007

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