SuperShoppers: What is real cider?

SuperShoppers features on channel 4 at 8.30pm, a show with an aim to save consumers money. On the 22nd of Febuary (series 1, episode 4) SuperShoppers presented the question of what real cider actually is. Although often misrepresented many ‘ciders’ on the market cannot be officially classed as ciders.

View the SupperShoppers clip here.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, cider is “an alcoholic drink made from fermented apple juice.

Legally the cider is defined in the Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act of 1979.

In the Act, ‘cider’ is defined as ‘cider or perry of a strength exceeding 1.2% alcohol by volume (ABV) but less than 8.5% ABV obtained from the fermentation of apple or pear juice without the addition at any time of any alcoholic liquor or of any liquor or substance which communicates colour or flavour other than such as the Commissioners may allow as appearing to them to be necessary to make cider or perry’

This ultimately means that fruit ciders, are in no way cider at all. As stated by Pete Brown on SuperShoppers, in his opinion, fruit ciders are in fact closer to an alcopop due to their high sugar and low apple content.


Rekorderligs apple and blackcurrant flavour has a whopping 51 grams of sugar per 500mL bottle. That’s about 12 teaspoons of sugar per bottle!

Fruit ciders (or alcopops in disguise) are well camouflaged, with most popular ‘cider’ brands well packaged, so much so that their content can be overlooked, instead misinterpreted to be ‘real’ cider due to their excellent presentation.


It is their lack of apple content that legally means they are not really cider. Kopparberg is made from ‘naturally occurring soft water’, fruit juice, sugar, acidifier (citric acid), flavouring, and potassium sorbate. No mention of any apple content at all.

Real cider is made from apples. The character depends upon the varieties of apple used, just as wine is about the blend of grapes. It is this blend or use of different varieties that gives the cider its flavour, unlike commercial ciders or fruit ciders additional flavourings are not needed.

Despite this misconception, craft cider is on the rise, with many independent brands popping up to take back the cider market. Here at Crafty Nectar we take pride in offering real craft cider. Providing an alternative to those mainstream ‘alcopop’ ciders that dominate the market.

The most common ciders confused for being real are (as listed by CAMRA):

  • Addlestones
  • Bulmers Traditional
  • Magners
  • Kingstone Press (by Aston Manor)
  • Rattler
  • Sheppy’s Oakwood
  • Stowford Press
  • Strongbow (no shocks there!)
  • Thatchers Gold

All of which are popular mainstream brands that ‘pretend’ to be real cider.

So if mainstream ciders such as Rekorderlings and Kopparberg are not actually ciders, what are?


Turners cider is an excellent example of a ‘real’ craft cider. Featuring on SuperShoppers Turners is a true craft cider, a Kent based company they use only 100% Kentish apples for their range. Resulting in a range of clean, light and refreshing ciders that are truly flavoursome, not oversweetend or artificial like the ‘fake’ ciders.



Another great example is welsh based Hallets cider, made using both the traditional fermentation method, with the addition of juice which is fermented using a rarely applied method called Keeving. Resulting in a sweet, rich juice and unique Welsh cider.

If you’re interested in checking out some more real ciders, take a look at our January subscription box for an idea of what you could get from Crafty Nectar, Still interested? Then sign up here and start your Cider adventure!



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