World Cider Day forces, it’s time to leave the French lands to start our exploration of the cider culture across the channel, in the UK.
I see you coming … “cider is not real cidre”, “english cider is a soda produced from apple concentrate, added sugars and additives”. In summary: “English people do not know how to cook, they will not go to cider either.”
Dear English comrades, all my apologies
Because no, cider is not – only – a soda from apple concentrate. Certainly, Magners, Strongbow and other Somersby have pub storefront. In the shadow of those mastodons, producers and enthusiasts of real craft ciders are working hard to requalify and rethink this product.
On the front line: Tom Oliver, “the hottest uk craft cider maker”. Tom is one of those producers who take their time and let their cider live. A non-interventionist culture that is a hit in the country of chosen yeasts and SO2 additions.
Mr Oliver is far from being stingy, he happens to share the front of the stage with other producers and ciders makers for collaborative ciders. Apples are exchanged and the savoir-faire is shared. Among them, the Americans of The Angry Orchard or Hawkes cider house with the cider “All Made Equal”, in tribute to English craft ciders.
Let’s go back to Hawkes. Hawkes is an urban cider house. Yes, urban, in the heart of London itself. Furious madmen led by Simon Wright who, one day, have made their mission to make cider – real cider – in town, thanks to the apples generously donated by the neighborhood. And well, Hawkes, self-proclaimed in a finely dosed egotrip the “saviors of cider” were bought by other madmen James Watt and Martin Dickie of … Brewdog Scottish Brewery.. BOOOM *mic drop
Would it be the beginning of a new era ?
From there, producers, distributors, influencers and enthusiasts have gradually organized themselves in order to redefine the future of the English craft cider. Their strength: tune their violins, collaborate and move forward TOGETHER.
Around 3 steps : definition, education and valorisation
1. IN ITS DEFINITION
cider is afermented drink made from apples. We did say apples. And nothing else. The cider meltingpot-of-unknow-apples-lets-be-hope-its-drinkable no longer exists. Producers spend more and more time working on their blends, discovering and rediscovering their varieties, and concentrates are no longer in question. The association “Small Independant Cidermakers” also delivers the label “90% fresh juice” to guarantee the presence of pure fermented juice..
2. IN ITS REVALORISATION
In the same way as the French, English craft producers suffer from a low-end image, far from the complexity of their work and their high-value ciders.
Cider Salon – which starts today in Bristol – brings together more than 20 producers and the main actors of the world of cider making around conferences, tastings of 60 ciders and perries, feasts … to celebrate the creative diversity of artisanal cider .
And the last keystone: the consumer education.
Susanna Forbes gives us the keys to the 100 best craft ciders to drink as fast as possible in TheCider Insider. Gabe Cook popularizes the secrets of cider making and the differences between each cider in The Ciderologist and brings craft ciders on TV, on national channels.And our two influencers are rewriting – literally – the story of cider in the awesome Full Juice magazine.
The originally non-cidriculating regions are not left out either. In Manchester, my adopted city,Dick Ashton and Cath Potter organize cider tasting evenings every month for the curious.. And what a pleasure to see French ciders represented in this Cider Club!
All, producers, cider drinkers, cider lovers, distributors, influencers, wherever they come: from West Country and Herefordshire, to Manchester via the West Midlands, gather around one and the same movement: # rethinkcider to set the new rules of the game.
Hogan’s Cider, Friels, Oliver’s, Little Pomona, Thristly Cross, Ross-on-Wye … all are so creative that my little heart is throbbing.