I grew up in New England and loved to drink dark brown apple cider, fresh from the local apple orchard. Supermarkets have jugs saying they’re apple cider, but the juice is nowhere near as dark (or tasty) as the cider I drank.
Based on what I’ve read at the Straight Dope and on Wikipedia, there isn’t a clear legal definition of apple cider, so bottling companies are permitted to make apple juice and call it cider. It’s a real shame.
If you ever get the chance to have real apple cider, you’ll understand what I’m talking about when I say there’s no comparison. What you get at the supermarkets isn’t nearly as good as the unpasteurized cider from an apple orchard.