The brainchild of a bunch of adventurous twentysomethings, Manila Cider Co. and their hard apple cider brand Manzana Cider was founded by Luis Sia, Vance Ching, and Martti Uy earlier this year.
Researching further on the beverage, they were surprised to discover its worldwide windfall: aisles in US supermarkets were dedicated solely to the drink, most every UK bar served it, and even Indonesia had their own hard apple cider brand – Bali cider. “Let’s stop wondering [why no one’s getting into this] and get ourselves into it,” exclaims Uy, capturing the youthful verve that set the trio’s ship sailing.
At first blush, hard apple cider tastes like apple-flavored beer, but that’s likely because one’s palate has yet to get acclimatized to … alcoholic apple juice.
By itself, it makes for a mildly sweet, smooth, and dry beverage without the fizz of carbonated alcoholic drinks. Distilled from pure apple juice fermented in yeast, this is the perfect brew for beach parties and tropical eves, even if apples don’t grow in such places.
Though not the kind of drink you gorge to get drunk on, it nonetheless packs a punch. Despite delivering at 6% ABV, the hit doesn’t drop on Newton’s head. Rather, it gently pats your back as you lounge comfortably into the deepening night.
This is also a highly versatile elixir as this bar has concocted its own hard apple cider creations: a gin cocktail and a stronger bourbon mixer. Like pure vanilla, it can be enjoyed on its own while also good for spicing up well-loved classics or otherwise inspiring culinary innovations.
“We’re not here to kill beer, just add a new option to the market,” Ching adds, as the trio are originally, and still, beer lovers.
“It all started with an apple,” goes Manzana’s purposely ambiguous tagline, as Uy shares its many interpretations; from the fall of man from Eden to the discovery of the laws of motion. They also aim to elevate the associations of alcohol as a whole beyond the usual tropes of “masculinity, luxury, and sex,” Uy expounds. For them, the experience of hard apple cider as an easily drinkable beverage that’s kind to the drinker has inspired such a vision.
Their tender ages weren’t barriers to set up shop: from partnerships with orchards around Spain, to partnering with local brewmeisters such as Joe’s Brew for production, all the way to shipping the final brew to bars within and the Metro. Starting with the craft beer market, their ultimate vision is to establish the drink as one of the top beverage options nationwide.
As hard apple cider takes root in our sunny shores, the local drinking scene is in for quite the harvest.