Apple cider spoils after six to 30 days, depending on the presence of preservatives, such as potassium sorbate, that extend shelf life. Most commercially-produced cider products, except organic recipes, contain preservatives. Cider produced by local growers may not contain preservatives, depending on local and state requirements.
Ciders that are sold in refrigerated form need to be refrigerated at all times to maintain flavor and prevent early spoilage. Cider that develops an off smell or taste comparable to vinegar should be discarded. Apple cider can also be frozen for up to six months when transferred to a freezer-safe, airtight container. Pasteurization, which is required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has no impact on apple cider's shelf life.