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Bringing cider to Port and beyond, the hard way PDF Print E-mail
Written by JOE POIRIER   
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 16:21

New hard-cider import from Ansay International has roots in Luxembourg

    With the growing popularity in craft beers, a new market in hard ciders is emerging, and Port Washington-based Ansay International is looking to tap into the action with a new import from Luxembourg called Ramborn Hard Cider.
    “We’re trying to catch that wave of craft beer drinkers who are migrating over to cider,” Rob Ebert, marketing director for Ansay International, said. “It’s still a very small niche product here in the U.S. but it’s one of the few liquors that’s rising in sales.”
    Ebert said cider sales represent less than 1% of all liquor sales in the U.S.,  but in England one out three or four drinks ordered at bars are ciders.
    “Ramborn exports a lot of cider to England and it’s starting to grow in popularity here in the U.S.,” he said. “It’s something different. Obviously, we’re in beer city but when people try this you can taste the quality in the product. You know the expression ‘seeing is believing,’ well over here at Ansay we say ‘tasting is believing.’”
    The company debuted its apple-flavored cider during a four-hour tasting at Luxembourg Fest in Belgium this month, and the beverage has been getting rave reviews.
    “It’s been extremely well received,” Ebert said. “As an added bonus, the owner of Ramborn and the ciderey in Luxembourg was here for the week during Luxembourg Fest. He was able to meet and talk to people about the cider and answer their questions.”
    Ansay International is also introducing the cider to a number of other establishments to get the word out.
    “We just had our launch here in the U.S. on Sunday (Aug. 13) at Lost Valley Cider in downtown Milwaukee. It’s the only cider bar in Wisconsin,” Ebert said. “The owners of Lost Valley said they had the most sales on a Sunday since they opened.”
    The cider is also being served at Newport Shores Restaurant in Port Washington.
    “Sales have been really good for them, so much so that it’s actually raising the profile of our other products,” Ebert said. “People will try the Ramborn and then they’ll ask, ‘Do you have any more stuff from Luxembourg?’”
    The company imports a variety of Bofferding beers from Luxembourg, including a pilsner, fruit ale, triple ale, extra ale and Christmas ale.
    “Bofferding has had the best market penetration because it’s the first product we started with two-and-a-half years ago,” Ebert said. “We’re in dozens and dozens of restaurants and stores so people recognize the name now and that’s what we’re trying to build now with Ramborn.”
    Ansay International also sells 15 types of Domaines Vinsmoselle wine from Luxembourg.
    “It’s kind of a triumvirate of products we’re importing right now,” Ebert said.
    According to Ebert, Ansay International is aiming to broaden its imports into food products like mustard by 2018.
    “We’re going to start branching out into food,” he said. “Mustard tends to go well with pretzels, and it also works together with beer.”
    Ebert noted there is high competition with selling beer and wine, but importing from Luxembourg gives Ansay International a competitive advantage.
    “Being from Luxembourg stands out. A lot of people don’t know where it is or that it’s even a country in Europe, so it gives it a good story,” he said. “The products they make in Luxembourg are really high quality. The owners thought to put the two together and launch the company.”
    Ansay International is co-owned by Mike Ansay and his daughter, Kate, who have dual citizenship with Luxembourg and the U.S.
    “It’s literally in their DNA,” Ebert said. “They’re always traveling to Luxembourg quite a bit. They like the high quality of the beer, wine and cider, and they thought that would be a good opportunity to introduce it to the United States.”
    For people who want to get a taste of Luxembourg’s offerings, Ansay International’s imported beverages are available at local area grocery stores.
    “Our philosophy is to get our product in front of as many people as possible,” Ebert said. “People ask us, ‘Where can we get this?’ We’re growing as fast as we can, but depending on where you live you may need to drive a few extra miles to get to the closest Sendik’s or Woodman’s. We hope to grow as the years go on here.”

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