All posts in: What is “Real” Cider?

It’s never been more popular to buy sustainably produced food and drink direct from the producer

People are enjoying local and ‘real’ food more now than ever and with that demand comes interest in what is contained in the food, or rather what isn’t. As well as where it is made and the methods used to create the final product.

This is certainly the case for traditional real cider.

So lets define what’s contained in real cider:

  • Hand or hydraulically pressed apple juice
  • Water to make up volume – but no more than 15% of the cider, otherwise the cider is no longer defined as ‘real’
  • Aspartine (nutrasweet) may be added to a cider to sweeten it if the apples are ‘dry’
  • Larger cider producers like Weston’s use sulphites to preserve the ciders longer on the shelves of shops
  • Cider that has been fermented in oak barrels that previously contained rum or whisky will have traces of the spirit which you’ll be able to taste – this adds to the flavour, eg: Kingston Black cider

Oak Cider Barrel

What’s not in real cider:

  • Real cider has not been pasteurised* or concentrated
  • E numbers
  • Colours
  • Syrups
  • Excessive water
  • Antioxidant

* Some cider’s may be heat treated to halt further microbial degradation of the cider.

Benefits of drinking real cider:

The many definitions of Real Cider

  • Cider is made by fermenting the juice of apples.
  • 100% fermented apple juice, with nothing added and nothing taken away.
  • Any bottled or draught cider that contains live yeast.
  • Cider that has not been pasteurised, carbonated, or concentrated.
  • Locally sourced apples, pressed and fermented using traditonal cider production methods.
real cider

Real cider is served normally still & often cloudy. Cheers!

Did you know?

  • Cider varies in alcohol content from less than 3% ABV in French cidre, up to 8.5% ABV in traditional English ciders.
  • All real cider is suitable for a vegan and wheat free diet.
  • Most cider is produced from a ‘blend’ of different apples, you can also get ‘single’ variety ciders.

Each cider maker has their own blend of the hundreds of varieties of apples available, the source and ingredients are a closely guarded secret. Long established family producers have handed down the production process to their sons and daughters.

Just like beer, cider has its different flavours. Dry ciders are associated with Somerset, and Devon offering sweeter ciders. Though as cider is found in all corners of the UK its much harder to make such classifications.

Mass produced cider

Ciders makers that only produce industrial cider like strongbow or diamond white have not received a listing on this web site.

Instead of being made from all juice as a true cider would be, they’re made with a little bit of apple juice and a bunch of sugar-water. Mass produced cider sold in the UK is mostly made from imported apple concentrate,artificial colourings, sweeteners, and preservatives are added to make up for the apple character that isn’t there. The liquid is then filtered, pasteurised to kill the yeast, and kept and served under carbon dioxide pressure.

Champion the Real Cider movement!

I feel that this produces a drink although sometimes refreshing, have less flavour and character than real farmhouse cider. With consumers demanding higher quality in the food and drink industry I feel it’s time to champion the local producers who are carefully crafting natural real cider, using sustainable methods. By the producers carrying on this heritage means we can enjoy real cider whoever and wherever we live.

Further Links:
Wikipedia – Cider Information
CAMRA – About Cider