Sales of cider in the UK have rocketed over the last five years and around 47% of Brits are now cider drinkers. Cider is on a par with lager in terms of popularity and the apple drink has recently been attracting the attention of younger drinkers.
On a warm early autumn evening, cider makes a refreshing option and when it comes to British ciders there are plenty to choose from.
In general when we think of UK cider we think of those heavily advertised famous brands with the trade mark bow and arrow sold by the pint in pubs. However, according to The National Association of Cider Makers there are around 500 cider makers in the UK with most being located in the west of England and central southern England.
West Country Cider
Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Wiltshire are home to some of the UK’s major cider producers. Well known producers from this area include Thatchers, Gaymer and Brothers; around 25 cider producers operate in Somerset alone. The region is known to produce both traditional ciders as well as those unique to the UK such as Somerset Cider Brandy, an 18% abv cider blended from brandy and apple juice.
Scrumpy is of course one of the most well-known cider varieties and can be sweet or dry. The apples used in scrumpy, such as Kingston Black or Dabinett give this particular cider additional bite and body. Scrumpy is usually a still cider instead of carbonated and it does pack an alcoholic punch tending to be much stronger than others.
Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire
These three counties are famous for their cider production and Herefordshire is home to high quality cider makers such as Westons. The areas are also well-known for their high quality Perry pears. Pear cider has undergone a surge in popularity recently although the success of this beverage has caused a bit of row with traditionalists who are claiming that cider can only be called cider if it is made from apples.
Younger drinkers and females in particular are taking to the sweet taste of pear cider and the drink is now stocked in many pubs and supermarkets. Pear cider is particularly popular at the many live music festivals around the country.
Smaller cider producers
Although cider is predominantly made in the south west of England you can find plenty of smaller cider producers all over the UK. Wales produces many great ciders such as the award-winning, unpasteurized apple and pear Welsh Mountain Cider. Yorkshire is home to some superior ciders including the award-winning small production Moorlands Farm Cyder. For a cider with a whisky flavour head to Scotland to The Cidershed near Dunbar to try out Thistly Cross Cider, which is matured in ex-Glengassaugh whisky casks for six months and boasts a refreshingly dry and subtle taste.
Image: Different varieties of cider by Andrew King used under creative commons license: http://www.flickr.com/photos/24515968@N05/2575809617/
Author Bio: David Knightley loves nothing better than taking a long walk in the countryside before rounding it off with a pint in a rural country pub. He used to be a beer fanatic, but his interest recently extended to cider too. You will often find him at a good UK beer festival!
September 6, 2013 9:01 PM | Drink Smoke