Below is a list of the most common ciders that we do not recognise as being real:

Most of these ‘ciders’ have nothing to do with real cider except in name and the fact that a minor portion may have see some kind of apple product at some stage in the production process.

We want you to get involved with real cider, so we have listed the ones here to avoid.

Here they are (Source: CAMRA).

  • Amber Harvest (Aston Manor)
  • Ashton Press
  • Aspall (except Temple Moon,
  • Bounders (Bath Cider)
  • Briska
  • Brothers
  • Bulmers
  • Chaplin and Cork
  • Chardolini Perry (Aston Manor)
  • Copper Press (St Austell)
  • Crofter’s (Aston Manor)
  • Crumpton (Aston Manor)
  • Diamond White
  • Druids Celtic Cider (Aston Manor)
  • Dry Blackthorn
  • Duchy Originals (Aston Manor)
  • Friels
  • Frome Valley
  • Frosty Jack’s
  • Gaymer’s
  • Golden Valley (Aston Manor)
  • Harry Sparrow (Aspall)
  • Hereford Orchard (Aston Manor)
  • Jacques
  • K Cider
  • Knights (Aston Manor)
  • Kopparberg
  • Lazy Jacks
  • Magners
  • Malvern Gold (Aston Manor)
  • Merrydown
  • Natch
  • Oakleys
  • Old Moors (Devon Cider Co.)
  • Old Mout
  • Pomagne
  • Red C
  • Rekorderlig
  • Robinsons
  • Samuel Smith’s
  • Scrumpy Dog
  • Scrumpy Jack
  • Sharp’s Orchard Cornish
  • Somersby (Carlsberg)
  • St Helier
  • Stella Cidre
  • Strongbow
  • Strongbow Sirrus
  • Symonds
  • Taunton
  • Three Hammers
  • WKD Core
  • White Lightning
  • White Star
  • Woodpecker

Why are they not real cider?

  • As it is not craft cider produced using traditional methods.
  • Not only does it fill a marketing gap that wasn’t a gap in the first place, but it tastes just like it is – poor commercial cider with added ‘flavour’ and fizz. I’ve tasted some commercial ‘ciders’ that taste like a chemically enhanced fizzy cross between apple juice and cordial.
  • Real cider has always been a traditional drink which is produced naturally from apples and is neither carbonated nor pasteurised. Cider is only made from pressed, and fermented apples. Nothing else.

The ingredients listed on a can of Strongbow are:

Fermented apple juice & glucose syrup, water, sugar, carbon dioxide,
acid: E270, E330, antioxidant: E224 (sulphites).

These cider imposters have had most of the alcohol derived rom fermenting corn starch syrup which is then diluted with water. Malic acid is then added in order to get a bit of taste back into it.

Doesn’t sound very appetising does it?

It doesn’t mean that the drinks aren’t refreshing on a hot summers day, however with real cider you will find the majority are organic, free of artificial colours, acids and antioxidants.

The drinks don’t last as long in the bottle, but because they taste of real apples it means the cider doesn’t normally stay in the bottle long before it is enjoyed!


  1. Corberson

    Traditional. Meh.

  2. Kev Whelan

    how about symonds, is that real ?

  3. Anonyy

    So give us a list of real cider and where and how to buy it?

  4. Anonyy

    So give us a list of real cider and where and how to buy it?

  5. Jim Callender

    you mean scrumpy jack? that’s on the #notrealcider list.

  6. Jonapples

    If Bulmers are not putting the hundreds of tons (yes I do mean that much) of apples that pass my door every autumn into the cider, what on earth are they doing with them?

  7. Dannyshawzy

    I dont care whether they have real apples in or not aslong as i like the taste (pretty sure magners does contain real apples too).. I have tried ‘real’ ciders all be it only twice and both were absolutley rancid give me the commercial stuff over a pint of ice cubes any day!

  8. Heavensent7

    Could the “corn starch syrup” be substituted by wheat starch?

  9. Ilovecider

    Oh come on! ‘Not produced using traditional methods’, if everything was made like it was 100 years ago we wouldn’t make enough of the stuff to enjoy it, that and it would be about £6 a bottle!! Yes Strongbow is rancid but Kopparberg, Thatchers, Aspall, Brothers and even Stella Cidre are actually quite plesant!! Also, just because chocolate isn’t made with 100% cocoa doesn’t mean it’s not chocolate!

  10. ScrumpyDave

    Bulmers does use apples, many of which probably pass by your door. However, they also import apple juice concentrate from China and Belgium. Most of the apples they use are not cider apples, so in order to give them a ‘proper’ taste they add malic acid. The juice is sterilzed in order to kill off the natural yeast, then a packaged yeast is added. They also add in loads of sweetener, because that is the market place they have created. Bulmers also dictates to a large extent what apple varieties are being grown in your area. This really impacts local culture and diversity. If you are lucky enough to be in the area where apples are passing by on their way to Bulmers you undoubtedly live by half a dozen Real cider makers. Cheaper, easier and a lot more friendlier to stop by and by from them!

  11. Skibill

    I am looking for REAL ciders that haven’t had any sugar added in the fermentation process.  Found some in So Africa but can’t find any so far in Aberdeen……I wrote down every brand they had in the store and trying to research them……any ideas??

  12. Tim Beer

    Sulphites, not Sulphates.
    Yes we add natural sweeteners and So2, we also carbonate to keep the fizzy cider brigade happy but we use 100% REAL CIDER in the process.
    This list could do with updating Jim, quite few out there supposedly doing the Craft thing but in fact are just scaled down factories.

  13. Dave

    Sure, because it is cheaper, but then you are encouraging a lower quality product.

  14. Ryan

    They do use apples, but the legal, minimum amount of cider juice vs water or whatever else is around 30%, that means that only 30% of what you drink is actual apple, can this still be called cider from actual apples?

  15. Ryan

    I know alot of people who would say that they are not.

  16. Ryan

    Some Real Ciders use So2 but others do not, but I do have to agree with Tim, you can add natural sweeteners such as pasteurized apple juice after fermentation, and carbonation does not lessen the amount of Real Cider that is in the drink, you love.

  17. The Beer Wrangler

    I’m surprise by the inclusion of Aspall’s and Samuel Smiths, they certainly taste better than the others mentioned in the list!

  18. Andrew

    I agree up to a point about this list, and find the likes of Strongbow awful! That said, Aspall’s Premier Cru is a superb drink-cold, refreshing & strong!

    Not ALL mass-produced ciders are rubbish!

  19. It’s great that you’re “naming and shaming” fake ciders, but the thing that immediately strikes me about this site is that you don’t provide any easy way to track down ciders which ARE real. Don’t you thinkk you’d be doing more good for the real cider companies if you featured them more prominently and easily in a convenient list?

  20. Neil Chambers

    What is your evidence that all these are fake ciders? I’m not challenging you but genuinely interested. Obviously Kopparburg is not cider, one sip tells you that. And Strongbox admit to the doctoring on the bottle. But Stowford Press? Westons claim they use cider apples and ferment it for 6 months. I’m sure it’s sweetened and fizzed but doesn’t appear to be in the same boat as say Magners. Or does that list include any cider sweetened or carbonated at all?

  21. William

    Not everyone likes to drink something flat cloudy and bitter so what’s the answer, don’t drink Cider? There must be something that tastes nice that can be considered “real” cider surely?!

  22. Dickie Dawkins

    Just came across this article and it’s made me, as a Bulmer’s and Aspall (when I can find it) drinker, rethink my drinking and revert to drinking German beer again. Sugar’s a killer – it causes heart disease, feeds cancer and makes one obese. Why can’t they just make proper cider – apples and yeast and that’s it?!

  23. Lee Thorne

    Good quality real cider often tastes like fresh apple juice! Around 40% of people have never tasted wholesome real cider, and when those who say ” I don’t like cider” actually take a moment to taste the real thing, around 95% usually say, wow, that tastes really nice!

    If you’re new to proper cider, and haven’t yet tasted the difference, visit a local real cider festival – E.g. CAMRA Manchester (in my region) is one of the best festivals in the North West UK (with around 70 real ciders & perry’s) in June every year & try the ciders out – everyone has different tastes – no one should prescribe what people like to drink, but at least TRY A FEW, especially the award winning ones, before making your mind up!

    If you can’t get to a festival, there are craft producers with online stores who are happy to deliver their Award Winning Real Cider & Perry direct to your door and you’ll save fuel & time! If you are unsure, don’t miss out, email them, or give them a ring, have a chat, they will be happy to recommend a real cider or perry that you will love!

    Enjoy your adventure!

  24. Magic omnibus7

    I think it’s because actual cider will go off much quicker. Home-made cider actually tastes like apples. I’ve never had the same taste from any commercially sold cider.

  25. Farter McGee

    Ye, I think the author is missing the point which is that people who drink Strongbow do it because they like the taste, they’re all aware it’s not ‘real’. ‘Real’ cider tastes disgusting to many, many people. Sorry anoraks

  26. james w

    I had a facebook discussion with westons and they said they “are committed to using 100% pressed juice” when i asked them about if they use concentrate etc… they just stopped responding when i asked them to confirm or deny using water or concentrated juice…. so disappointing because i thought they were a real cider producer… evidently not.

  27. Jessica Harris

    My favourite real cider is custard co ciders from western Australia

  28. Dopa M1n3rva

    You can’t beat Dorset Nectar Cider – if you want to make your teeth and gums so sensitive that shocks of aversion shoot through them every time you eat anything for days afterwards …

    Weston’s Vintage is close to being the best cider that can be found (consistently) in shops – but even that is a bit shit and leaves things to be desired …

    I believe that Merrydown make some really shitty stuff in cans and maybe bottles too, but they have a “Vintage” in 750ml “sharing” bottles for only £2 that seems to be at least on a par with Weston’s ones (and cheaper too). Going by their website, it appears they blend lots of non-fermented apple juice (with all its lovely fructose) into the final product, along with carbon dioxide (so yeah: probably no worse than Weston’s is in reality, and still cheaper). At least I don’t force-feed myself lots of “healthy” cereals, and do spend quite a bit of time walking/bounding/running up slopes, so that most of its “toxic” sugars will end up getting stored as glycogen …

    Nowadays most of my alcohol requirement comes from fermented ginger “beer” that is free from wheat/gluten. It tastes great and doesn’t have any aversive after-effect on the teeth/gums.

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