A cider revolution 1/2
Some of you who follow us know that I [Camille] trained at the CS Cidricole du Robillard, a kind of cider school where we are taught how to be to perfect pomoliers and cidermakers. Among the modules, slipped a course: “The cider market”. The cider market … a sort of taboo between us trainees, allowing us to joke about our“crazy idea” to get into the cider market.
Because let’s face it, the news are not good. Only one in three French still consumes cider *, sales have declined an average of 3.3% overall for the past 10 years, dozens of hectares of apple trees are torn each year, and so on.
However, the industry – I mean by industry :the two cooperatives holding 82% of the market that are AGRIAL and Les Celliers Associés –are struggling with great “innovations”: Hard Cider inspired by the Anglo-Saxon cider, “fine”ciders, “pearl of cider” … without much success, or very ephemeral success.
Yes, from an industrial point of view, it is clear that the figures are unequivocal: the cider market is going badly. But if we take our eyes off the growth, market share and simply any macro or micro-economic concept: is it cider going so badly? What is its future ?
This is a question that UNICID ** posed with the help of AGRIMER in 2016, and I would like to go over it with you guys, today in 2019.
Attention, I will lend myself to the exercise of a fortune teller accordingly to my 3 – too short – years navigating within the cider culture Of course, you have the right not to agree with me, and many producers more experienced than me will surely have another interpretation of what is being built today in the sector. But it seems essential to me today to unite to accelerate this product so dear to our heart.
In fact, the year 2018 saw a new wind, a new impetus, a new vitality spread around producers and projects carried for and by cider.
I can not speak of what I like to call the cider revolution – without mentioning those young brands that have cleared the ground and seduced a new audience. I’m thinking of Sassy, Appie, Fils de Pomme and all those “cider start-ups” with a dazzling marketing and commercial strength.
I have heard many of my comrades blame them for having been fed on financial plans and marketing strategies in business schools in order to produce standardized products (ie, gasified and pasteurized). To that I answer: what can we learn from their success? Do not they have the merit of having revalued and put cider back on the front of the stage? Is not the union the strength?
Moreover, it is also and surely thanks to them that the curious consumer will go further in his research and discover the artists of cider, these men and women who have trusted their fruits, their terroir and work hard to give birth to living, exceptional ciders. Eric Baron, Cyril Zangs, Eric Bordelet, Antoine Marois, Damien Lemasson, Bixintxo Aphaule to name a few (and only men, this is a subject I will have to write about.)
And then there are the new producers, my classmates and the others, brave or crazy, ready to settle, wanting to plant orchards high stalks, ready to wait between 5 and 10 years before, literally, reap the fruits of their hard work.
All, young and old, have this in common: they produce and will produce ciders that revolutionize the genre. This new wave rethinks the very definition of cider, decomplexes, exceeds the limits imposed by the mass consumption companies (Brut, Demi-sec, Sweet), bet on the biodynamics, the parcel cuvées, the vintages/millesimes, the co-fermentations, the natural effervescence…
Here lies the beauty of the world of cider: when the boat sinks and all the signs are red, a new force seizes the crew to get it back afloat. A creative force, committed and passionate.
Around the producers companies have been created, like Calyce, animated by the same passion of the product and similar missions.
We have big plans for Cayce, which we are about to unveil very soon in our first crowdfunding campaign at the end of next week.
Within these small businesses we find the same desire to educate the consumer, this search for a higher-value perception of the product and work behind it, also transparency (because it is now time that we know what we drink and that it figures on the labels).
Perhaps we too are, on our small scale, the sign that borders are beginning to move, to open up and the revolution is on the move.
Last week,the Canal Saint-Martin saw the doors of La Cidrerie, held by Benoît, opened. On the menu: ciders, a lot of ciders, a lot of love too, and a mission: to question the perception that people have about cider (does not that tell you something?)
In the same vein, we find the Pomze avant-garde restaurant, guided by chef Alexia Falcone’s cuisine, or the Sistrot in Quimperby Ronan and Eran, whose cider menu is a little treasure. For lovers of crepe / cider Brutus or Lulu la Nantaise are the perfect alternatives.
Let’s not forget the events and fairs that bloom around cider and Pet’Nat’ such as “Tour de Fruit”organized by Ode Chalon and Como Isambert last February, “Pom, Pomm, Pomme, Pommes”in Nantes implied by the the same joyous lurons and the long-awaited CidrExpo to be held next February in Caen. The project brings together producers, enthusiasts and representatives of the cider voice as Dominique Hutin
CidrExpo crystallizes and celebrates, in my opinion, the emergence of this new cider culture, which is preparing to write a beautiful page of its history.
Let’s not be chauvinistic, the movement is running everywhere in Europe, England led by the #rethinkcider movement is at the top of the list. See you next week for a tour in England!
* Rayon Boisson 2008
** “L’UNICID est l’Union Nationale Interprofessionnelle Cidricole.