Move over wine – here comes craft cider. That’s right. Cider, the drink that once was thought to only be consumed by the futile drinker, is coming back with a vengeance.
It’s appearing in fancy restaurants in all corners of the planet and people can’t seem to get enough of it. It has literally pushed its way onto the front pages of prestigious magazines and is finding its way into media as a more elegant drink to be savoured.
What’s even more amazing is the huge uptick in the world’s overall consumption of the stuff. In 2014 sales flirted with the £1bn mark in the UK and is expected to increase in the next few years. The ciders that are really booming are the artisan and premium ones which are made using wild yeast, aged and fermented, and infused with a variety of tasty flavours. We’re talking ginger, cinnamon, cucumber, and even passion fruit.
One company working its way to the top of the world of cider is Once Upon A Tree, which got its start about eight years ago. After winning Best Drink Producer of 2014 they stepped even further into the limelight. These guys are serious winemakers of their kind, now making sparkling dry cider using more traditional methods.
People from all over the globe are now toasting these ciders with their meals. In other words, their sipping the cider with style rather than guzzling it to quench their thirst, rewarding their taste buds with the same sort of varietals that we experience with wine.
Ross-on-Wye Ciders is another place producing cider that is aged in rum and whisky casks. The taste and aromas associated with this process is not just complex but people are scrambling in droves to get their hands on it.
This isn’t even a local or regional phenomenon, but rather has global implications. Bill Bradshaw who is a craft cider expert agrees
“The craft cider scene in the US is exploding, with new cider-makers popping up every week,” he says. “There is more export/import of cider across the Atlantic than ever before.”
This is exciting news for cider drinking enthusiasts and cider producers. Craft ciders are so much on the rise in the U.S. that they are being consumed more like wine than anything. In return, prices are going up. Because of the increase in prices, and more people asking for cider down at their local pub, we are now seeing a booming industry – one that doesn’t seem to be losing steam.
Nick Davis of Bristol Cider Shop agrees that in some ways it reflects the “craft beer movement”. Not long ago craft beers exploded in popularity. Today, the same thing is happening with cider. There are so many varieties that can be concocted, and when we’re talking about just apples, there are 7,500 difference kinds to choose from. That is an amazing amount of apples.
But that’s just apples. Think about the other fruits that can be used, such as strawberries, apricots, and cucumber, to name a few.
We are also talking health benefits for drinking craft cider, as opposed to beer. Not only is it packed with fruit, it contains high levels of antioxidants to help ward off unwanted disease.
Could this be attributed to the enormous increase in cider drinkers spanning the globe?
For whatever the reason, over the past 10 years we’ve seen a steady incline in cider sales while beer sales have dwindled since 2009. Some may attribute rising sales to what has become known as the “Magners Effect.” How it got its name is Magner’s cider kicked-off a mighty advertising and marketing campaign targeting a younger audience – especially young women.
The results? A big success.
It was such a success that new cider drinkers typically started out with Magners before moving on to something different. It became the gateway to experiencing ciders.
This gateway has lead to consumers to try different varieties than the bander commercial brands, looking towards traditional craft ciders with higher fruit content. Access to these artisan producers is still and problem with many people throughout the UK missing out. Enter, Crafty Nectar, a craft cider subscription company that delivers a variety of different ciders to your doorstep each month. Ed Calvert, CEO, explains:
“Craft Nectar was started because I was been fed up of the tasteless and faceless brand and has officially set out on a quest to make sure every man and his dog have the opportunity to sample the best that the UK craft cider market has to offer.”
The craft cider love doesn’t stop there! People are finding that ciders are being paired well with foods. Cheese doesn’t just go well with wine but it seems to be naturally doing well with craft cider. Taste has a lot to do with it but so doesn’t the overall experience.
For example, visiting a rustic farmhouse on a backroad while sitting next to a crackling fire in the dead of winter and sipping craft cider is alluring, to say the least. Pair that with pork straight out of the slow cooker and you’ve got yourself a memorable evening. Choose a spicy curry and pair it with either a dry or fruity cider for an amazing tasty experience.
Another possible reason for the uptick in cider’s innovation and drinking in the United States could be due to its rich history of cider making. Thomas Jefferson grew apple trees on his land and produced cider. John Adams was also an avid craft cider drinker. Because of the difficulty in keeping water pure, beer making had its own issues.
They needed to solve the problem quickly and learned that apple trees had become plentiful. In return, the founding fathers perfected the craft of cider making.
In other words, it could just be ingrained within the American people to drink it. With the rise of health consciousness all over the world, we have learned the cause of many unwanted fat bellies. The beer gut!
Could the human race be conditioned to avoid the unpleasant side-effects of the widened mid-section?
A healthier alternative has been shoved in front of the noses of the health conscience person. The only thing to be careful of is the food that is paired with the healthy drink, as it is easy to reach for a fatty piece of meat, kick back, and sip craft cider in style.
Even better, there is no added expense or real trouble in asking for a glass of craft cider over a fatty, high calorie ale. Also, compared to wine, studies show that ciders can be half the strength but still hold the same bold taste in a single glass. Should wine be getting nervous?
If I were wine I’d be keeping a close eye on the craft cider movement.
The post Craft Cider Sales Explode with No Signs of Slowing appeared first on Crafty Nectar Blog.