So heres our review of this years favourite ciders to enjoy over the festive season.

All guaranteed to give you that warm glow from the inside –

Pouring draught cider at Heck’s in Somerset

  • Perry’s Red Streak – A medium single variety lightly sparkling cider, from the Somerset Redstreak cider apple. A rich fruity taste, and interesting dark red colour, definitely sets this cider apart from the rest. 6.0% ABV.
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Farmers are investigating willow woodchip mulch as an effective method of tackling apple scab in a new field lab with Innovative Farmers.

The farmer-led field lab is trialling willow mulch in commercial orchards and will be carrying out a cost benefit analysis of this non-chemical control approach, following initial research by the University of Reading into the pharmaceutical qualities of willow.

A range of growers, including members of the National Association of Cider Makers and small holders, are taking part in the AHDB sponsored field lab that was launched at an event last week with Sheppy’s Cider.

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Good news for all small cider makers, in the form of a new association in the UK, which is working with the EU and our government on cider duty.

The Small Independent Cider Makers (SICA).

First of all they have arrived at a definition of craft cider. Second they have worked with the EU to give cider a separate definition under the tax law. The net effect is that it is hoped more people will start making cider (much as has happened in the real ale area where tax relief has kicked off many new breweries) and also encourage producers to make the next steps in expanding their business.

SICA will ensure cider drinkers will be enjoying the real thing. Ie: pressed, fermented apple or perry juice. If you are looking for cider that meets these requirements look out for the badge, if you are a craft cider maker become a member.

SICA’S 90% minimum juice standard

We believe that cider and perry should be made from fresh juice, not from concentrate. We are the first association of cidermakers to offers a National Quality Mark of there being at least 90% fresh apple juice in ciders and at least 90% fresh pear juice in perries. This translates into the highest quality drinks with a fascinating range and depth of flavours.

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We are delighted to share an interview with Somerset cider maker, David Sheppy, on having a business that relies on the weather.

Sheppy’s is a 202-year-old premium cider-maker, and I am the sixth generation of the Sheppy family to take on the helm. Despite this extensive experience, we are still at the mercy of mother nature at each harvest. Summers are set to continue to be hotter and drier, and winters may be wetter. We expect the unexpected, and our ethos is to work with what nature gives us.

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