With cider sales on the rise, consumers are looking for more than sweet and sparkling, or cloudy and strong tipples to try.
The South West is justly famed for its reputation for the best in all things cider and perry. As the demand for artisan products with great provenance continues to grow, and customer palettes change, the expanding range of ciders coming out of the South West is ahead of the curve, and booming with new styles and flavours previously hard to find on shelves.
The Source Roadshow, a new food & drink trade show taking place on 16th June at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol, will be featuring 11 of the best cider makers around and showcasing products that range from the traditional to the fruity, and to premium products that could replace the classic bottle of wine at your next BBQ or picnic.
For those of us of a certain age, thoughts of cider can conjure up some rather less than positive pictures of 2 litre bottles being drunk in the park, or bright yellow pints of potent liquid bought by the growler on a farm in rural Somerset, or worse still something homemade, and not made well!
However, cider has far outgrown its “cider I up, landlord” reputation with incredible new flavours and styles becoming increasingly popular. Seeing a gap in the market and the potential for increased sales, cider makers from small independents to huge cider mills are encouraging consumers to expand their minds when it comes to ways to enjoy cider. If you didn’t think cider was your tipple, you may well find that it is now!
Cider makers are using seasoned barrels, experimenting with yeasts, adding new and fresh flavours to their ciders and perrys and are also doing their part to preserve the heritage and tradition of the drink by maintaining orchards of rare fruit so generations to come can experience them. Whilst traditional scrumpy remains popular, choices range from this to single vintage sparkling ciders which could rival champagne for celebrating on a hot sunny day. There’s even a rapidly growing range of alcohol-free cider, perfect for those who prefer not to partake, or are driving.
These three producers you will find at the Source Roadshow perfectly demonstrate the changes happening across the market.
Devon based cider maker Sandfords Orchard have split their produce into four categories, lower ABV session, fun and interesting flavoured, traditional, and premium class fine cider, the perfect summer swap from wines.
Hawkstone, with their infamous investor Jeremy Clarkson, have been using champagne yeast to give their cider a new lease of life, as well as aging each batch in oak vats for six months. An excellent example of a modern twist on a traditional drink.
Thatchers, a titan of South West Cider, have been at the forefront of experimentation for a long while. With their lab on site and the majority of their apples sourced from the local area, they have been making cider on Myrtle Farm since 1908! Whilst championing the traditional, they have created many varieties of their drinks including a huge range of flavoured ciders, and even wine. They also provide recipes and tips for cider cocktails and food pairings!
Jess Sherborne from Sandfords Orchard said “The cider category has completely evolved over the last ten years or so and continues to do so. It’s more diverse now that it has ever been as the category continues to proliferate with the arrival of smaller, artisan makers offering exciting and accessible alternatives to the mass produced, mass market ciders that have dominated for so long. The premiumisation trend within cider continues to spread as consumers seek out fewer, better products and experiences, paying close attention to provenance. This is great news for cider makers like us.”
Martin Thatcher, fourth generation cider maker from Thatchers in Somerset says: “Thatchers Blood Orange – our brand new cider that taps into the biggest flavour trend for this year – comes with the Thatchers expertise of crafting smooth and refreshing contemporary and traditional ciders for today’s market. Together with our longstanding heritage, we’re able to meet the choice of today’s cider drinker through taste, quality, provenance and sustainable cider making.”
To sign up for free entry to the Source Roadshow, where you can meet the producers, taste their products and have a chat with their team about expanding your cider offering, head to bristol.thesourcetradeshow.co.uk.