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Real cider sees real upswing

By thirsty hack Ignatius Rake

Posted October 12, 2012
traditional apple pressing to make cider
Pressing business: Cider in the making. (Check bottom for credit)

It's not just real ale that's booming in Blighty. So too is real cider.

There are now more than 300 real cider and perry producers in operation across the UK, a press release issued by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) states.

This compares to 155 back in 2005 when CAMRA published its Good Cider Guide, an increase of nearly 100% in seven years.

"A long-established traditional drink", real cider is defined by CAMRA as being "produced naturally from freshly pressed apples" without being "artificially carbonated, micro-filtered or pasteurised".

The same definition also applies to real perry except that this particular tipple is made from pears instead of apples.

In terms of geography, the major growth areas include Herefordshire and Somerset, which now play host to more than 40 and 35 producers, respectively.

However, it's not just the country's traditional cider-making areas that are enjoying a surge in production, with CAMRA noting that "even less popular areas for cider, such as in Yorkshire, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, are seeing small companies start life".

"We are delighted to see a large number of people coming into the real cider and perry industry and playing a major part in driving consumer interest in local produce, whether sold at a small farm outlet or a CAMRA festival," the press release quotes CAMRA National Cider and Perry Committee chairman Andrea Briers as saying.

"Our local branches are discovering new producers starting up all the time, meaning we are constantly revising our databases, and always welcoming new information."

"It's also exciting to hear many of these producers reporting high demand for their ciders and perries."

"This shows how many drinkers in the current climate are shunning mass-produced brands and instead are turning to their local producer for quality and choice."

"Cider making is one of the nation's proudest rural traditions and, with producers starting to emerge in more urbanised areas as well, the continual growth in the industry is extremely positive news when reinforcing the importance of this historic craft."

To celebrate and promote the production, history and skills associated with real cider and perry, CAMRA has designated October National Cider and Perry Month.

This makes perfect sense given that it is such an important time for the sector.

After all, it is during September, October and November that its feedstocks ripen.

Once harvested, the raw material is milled and pressed, with the extracted juice then left to ferment and mature until it's ready for consumption in the early spring.

Waiting is the hardest part of the process.

For more information on National Cider and Perry Month, have a click of this.

See also Royal Oak top for cider, posted 5/10/12, and British brewing goes ballistic!, posted 21/9/12.

Picture credit

Top and thumb: Apple pressing at the New Forest Cider Open Day 2008 by Mike Faherty.

For licensing information click the above link.

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