Cider TanksThere is no doubt that the Cider revolution has arrived in the modern world. Many thousands of brands are springing up to meet consumer demand, and the category has outperformed all other categories in a dwindling mass beer market across developed countries.

Cider derives from the Greek word meaning “Strong Drink” and is made all over the world. England, Ireland and France are leading the charge; however craft cider is also made in Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and USA/Canada.

Cider is a very versatile beverage that appeals to a wide demographic. It can be made using a wide array of methods and equipment, and can be presented as a highly commercial - or highly artisan - product in the marketplace.

Types of Cider

There are many types of cider produced all over the world with the main categories being:

French Cider (Cidre) - heralding from Normandy & Brittany, these ciders are generally low alcohol compared to traditional English style ciders and hover around 2 - 5% ABV. The traditional French techniques allow for residual sugar to be purposely left in the primary fermentation to give a slightly sweet yet highly sparkling cider. Tannins feature heavily in French Style Cidre along with a cloudy yeasty appeal. Commercial examples include Domaine Dupont Organic Cidre & Cidrerie d’ Anneville Binet.

Sparkling & Sweet Cider - Essentially the majority of commercial styles available on the market today. This definition encompasses the commercially clear, brightly sparkling ciders that are apple flavoured using apple concentrate along with varying additions of sugar, tannin and colour. These styles are generally 4 - 5% ABV and have highly processed techniques to create a consistently fast moving product. Commercial examples include Strongbow, Dirty Granny & Rekorderlig (flavoured).

Irish Style Cider - Essentially commercial style cider that is clear, 4 - 5% ABV and has traditionally been served over ice in larger bottles compared to other ciders. Commercial examples include Magners & Bulmers.

English Style Cider - also referred to as Scrumpy or West County Cider these ciders are the most popular and consumed ciders in the world. UK leads the charge in per capita consumption and tend to be cloudy and yeasty by nature and traditional bottle conditioning techniques. Usually presented in the 5 - 8% ABV range, these ciders are tannic by nature and use traditional varieties to impart unique and differentiated flavours that define this style very well. Commercial examples include Weston’s Organic Cider & Henneys Dry Cider.

European Cider - These ciders tend to have acid driven flavours that are clean, crisp and light by nature. Sourness and funky flavours are sought after in the production of these styles and tend to have a tart afterfinish. There are many sub styles from Austria, Germany and Spain. Commercial examples include Suffolk Cyder & Aspell Crisp Draught.

Perry - Essentially cider made from pears instead of apples that are softer and creamier in flavour profile. Pears however are difficult to extract juice from typically and commercially pear juice can be hard to find.

All of these ciders require different production methods, different equipment and varying processing methods that require specialist information and advice, for instance French cider production requires extended maturation times whilst commercial English style ciders require more downstream filtration and clarification processes.

Some essential tips on starting a Cidery: