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.

There is a new The Aims of the Association are:

  • To campaign for a fair system of duty and other government regulations, so that they properly recognise the unique nature, difficulties and costs of producing cider & perry from fresh pressed UK grown apples and pears.
  • To support the liberty from HMRC registration enjoyed by cider & perry micro-producers making less than 70hl of cider or perry a year.
  • To promote the manufacture of cider and perry from the juice of fresh pressed UK grown apples and pears.
  • To establish and maintain a cider and perry Quality Mark that will assist producers in marketing their qualifying products.
  • To provide a forum enabling the exchange of ideas, the updating of information and knowledge and encouraging the discussion of non-commercial matters relating to cider & perry.
  • To promote co-operation between members and with other associations and organizations in which there are mutual interests and benefits.
  • To promote the preservation and maintenance of orchards and to make links with orchard groups and societies for the mutual benefit of our members

We believe that the best cider & Perry is made from fresh juice, not from concentrate. Unfortunately it is not always easy for a consumer to sort their way through the marketing speak to find out what a product is really made from. Many consumers don’t realise that the legal requirement for juice in cider or perry is only 35%

To help consumers choose the products they like, we have developed a National Quality Mark for cider. It is the first of its kind to guarantee a consumer that the cider or perry they by is made to the highest standard with a MINIMUM of 90% fermented fresh juice in the finished cider or perry.

You might ask ‘why it isn’t 100% fresh juice?’ Unfortunately, unless a cidermaker is going to hand dry every apple after washing, and wipe dry the inside of every barrel, you couldn’t truthfully say 100%.

There are also limits to what can be proven, particularly by small craft products without expensive laboratories, there really isn’t a reliable way to measure the difference between say, 98% and 99%.

If our claim wasn’t to be an empty one there needs to be firm evidence to support what is said. So we decided that MINIMUM 90% was an honest claim that we could back up with proof and have a certified Quality Mark that is externally audited to show that this claim in true.

Follow them on Twitter