Your Introduction To Fine Cider

The Journey Begins...

Everybody knows that beer is brewed, and wine is made, but what about cider? Well (the good stuff) is actually made in a pretty similar way to wine. So imagine finding out that the bottle of wine you often buy from the supermarket - which you assume is made from pure grape juice - was little more than an industrial cocktail of 35% grape juice concentrate, sugar, colourings etc. and that most of it (65%) is water that has been added by the maker! Luckily, that isn't what happens in wine and nor is it allowed to. But for mass-market cider, this is what happens! Every now & then you might want a fizzy, sweet, mass-market cider, but the truth is the cider that most of us are familiar with, from the supermarket or pub, is a world away from what cider can and used to be! Mass market cider makers also tend to use pretty similar techniques to each other when making their cider, so their ciders can often taste quite similar as a result; you have likely experienced this yourself (except when they add other things like berry flavours, to make things a bit more varied..)!  

At its best, just like fine wine, cider is a unique expression of certain apple varieties, a certain season, and an individual place (not to mention an individual maker). So much so that back in the 17th & 18th century, fine ciders were held in high esteem in Britain, they were drunk by the king and aristocracy; they were even titled 'The Native Wine of England'. Unlike mass-market cider, which can be made from concentrate year-round, good cider will always be made seasonally, and regardless of whether a maker follows the exact same steps the following year, the result will almost certainly not taste quite the same. This means each and every bottle will be different, & you get a huge variety of fine ciders. 

This is what makes fine cider so different to mass-market cider; it values variety & complexity. In recent years, a handful of talented cider & perry makers have started to rediscover all that cider can be, experimenting with a mix of styles & showing the world what is possible. Even though some of these makers have been working for decades, it's still early days, but the word is spreading! So welcome to the world of fine cider; there is a future being formed, and you've joined us just as things are really getting exciting. Over this series of articles, we will take you a little bit further down the rabbit hole. By the end, we're confident you'll never look at a glass of cider in quite the same way again...

First things first, are you of legal drinking age?

No, but I'm working on it