What is Real Cider?

You may say that’s a bit of an odd question, surly cider is fermented juice of apples, simple.

If only that was the case, Cider should be made from fresh pressed apples with no added water other fruit flavours or from concentrate shipped half way around the world.

Unfortunately Big business got it’s claws in to uk cider a number of years ago and what is served up today is mostly water and even worse. The legal minimum of apple juice in a uk cider is 35%, however with some manipulation of the numbers it could get down to under 30% juice and still be legal.

 In 2004 a report was commissioned by the food standards agency to ascertain the juice content of ciders and perries available to the consumer. The minimum juice content found was 7%, yes that is 7% apple juice, so when you buy a pint of this cider you are buying 93% water, yummy. The full report can be read via http://www.cider.org.uk/juicecontent.htm

The name cider is unfortunately not a protected term in the uk so you can call whatever you want “cider”. The alcopop makers realised this a few years ago and with them having a bit of a poor reputation for producing substandard products out of water, sugar, flavourings and industrial alcohol, hit on the idea of using a traditional product name to provide some legitimacy to their products and in the process dragging cider down with them to the lowest level of industrial profit making product. You will notice that they are all 4% alcohol, the reason for this is that even HMRC don’t accept their products as cider and treat them as “made wine” which attracts a higher duty above 4% Alc, hence the watering down to this level. There is no minimum apple juice level for a made wine with the word cider on the bottle.

Even the terms “Craft” “Real” “Traditional” have no meaning in law and are just marketing speak for the big boys to try and convince the unwary that their products are something special when in fact they are the same bland flavourless watered down, sugared up, glucose syrup concentrate that the other mainstream factories churn out on a weekly basis, it just has a fancy label.

The only way to know what you are buying and drinking is to talk to the maker and ask where the apples come from, if any water is added, what varieties of apples are in each cider. Until we have regulation on ingredient listing on alcoholic drinks the only way to know.

Buy Local, talk to the maker and support makers battling to keep our long history of cider alive against the overwhelming pressure from big business who’s only responsibility is to their share holders.

#cider #realcider #craftcider