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  • Writer's pictureCider Buzz Mcr

Industrial v Authentic Ciders

Did you know that the legal minimum apple juice content to qualify as a cider is only 35%?

Britain is the home of cider, the history and tradition is there, the volume we drink is there; but there’s something missing and it’s of crucial importance: ‘Quality’.

About 90% of the cider sold in the UK is made from just 35% apple juice, its only legal requirement.

Worse: there is absolutely no obligation to display ingredients on a cider produced for the UK market.

If there was, the two products could be told apart with relative ease.

# Industrial Cider ingredients: Water, Apple Juice (often from concentrate).

# Authentic Cider ingredients: Apple Juice (never from concentrate).

So, as a starting point I think most people would agree that compulsory full ingredient labelling is a must.

Did you know: Rekorderlig Strawberry Lime Cider 500ml contains 48 grams - more than 12 teaspoons of sugar while, Strawberry or Kiwi Kopparberg cider 500ml holding 53 grams - nearly 13 teaspoons. (Daily Mail 16/12/2018)

How do they make it?

Generally they start with the full 100% apple juice which goes into a large fermentation tank. The yeast is added, and the fermentation process begins. However, rather than let it take a more traditional 6 to 9 months, maybe even longer, they force the process. They don’t want to use more tanks than they need, and they want speedy turnover for industrial, year round production. This speedy fermentation is achieved by constantly adding sugar to the vessel and keeping it warm. This allows them to achieve a very high alcohol drink in maybe 3 weeks. It could easily be 13% and more likely up to 15%.
After that they dilute the very strong “cider”, making sure they leave at least 35% in order to meet the specifications for cider as laid down by law – it cannot be less than 35%. There is a need to dilute the “concentrate”, add sugar to get the sweetness desired, and finally neat alcohol to give the right level for each “cider”. Then it will be pasteurised, carbonated and bottled. Bingo!
Consequently these “cider” producers only need 1/3 of the apples that authentic cider makers use.
Lastly it is worth noting that some cider makers are using imported “concentrate”. But the “cider” they produce will not say it’s made with “concentrate”.

If we want to promote the artisan natural creations, then we first need honesty on all cider and perry packaging to help the public understand the difference.
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