Real Cider and Perry

What are Real Cider & Perry?

Cider is made from apples, perry is made from pears – therefore “pear cider” is nonsense.

Ingredients

  • The liquid content before fermentation must consist entirely of non-pasteurized apple (cider), or pear (perry) juice, so no apple or pear juice concentrates to be used

Process

  • No added colourings to be used
  • No added flavourings to be used
  • There must be no artificial carbonation for draught products
  • Sweetener may be added to fully fermented Cider/Perry to make it sweet or medium
  • The addition of water is permitted to bring the alcoholic content of the Cider/Perry down to the level required by the producer. Ideally, however the minimum juice content should not be lower than 90% volume
  • No micro filtration allowed (this takes all the yeast, leaving a "dead" product)

How To Make Real Cider

The apples are washed and checked for rot or mould. Apples which are rotting should be discarded. The apples are crushed in a machine called a scratter which chops them up into small pieces. They are now called pulp or pommace. The pulp is placed in layers on a press and then the juice is extracted. If a traditional screw or hydraulic press is used the pulp is wrapped in fine mesh cloths, like parcels, and about eight of these are used to make one pressing - called a cheese.

The natural yeasts in the apples, or that have built up in the buildings that will have been used to make cider for many years, start the fermentation and several months later you have cider. To see a very short video showing how small-scale real cider is made, click the following link Apple Pressing day Video.

It must be noted that a number of larger producers will add sugar at the fermentation stage, enabling the cider to reach over 15% ABV - for example some of the Weston's brands, and then it is diluted down before it is sold (the legal limit for cider is 8.5%) - this process however does not conform to CAMRA's definition of real cider or real perry.

Producing or making cider takes place from late August to early in the New Year and depending on ambient temperatures, fermentation can take until the following spring.

Duty

  • There is a flat rate of duty on cider up to 7.4% ABV
  • You pay on the quantity made
  • A higher rate is paid for ciders between 7.4% and 8.5% ABV
  • A higher rate of duty is levied on cider using mushroom closures, mainly made using the champagne method
  • A duty exempt limit of 70 hectolitres per year (about 1500 gallons) helps the very small, local producers
  • Duty is controlled by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  • Adding fruit such as strawberries, raspberries and other flavourings to cider or perry that significantly change the flavour from apple/pear, or impart a colour change from amber/golden yellow, or allowing whisky or rum flavours in old casks to significantly alter the flavour are not permitted by HMRC's definition of cider. Any "cider" made like this, even if the producer makes less than 70 hectolitres, is classed by HMRC as "Made Wine" and is liable to pay duty at a higher rate

Perry

Perry is made in the same way as cider, but made from pears. Pears trees take longer to mature, so the drink is relatively rarer, but gaining in popularity.

Serving Real Cider

Depending on facilities and turnover in the licenses premises, real cider is usually served from a 5 gallon polycask or a 20 litre "Bag-in-Box", either on a hand pump, or by gravity. The Bag-in-Box method is very popular with cider makers for the simple reason that it prevents a headspace of air forming over the cider. Air (or rather Oxygen) is the main enemy of cider as it will oxidise the alcohol to vinegar. Despite cider makers generally preferring Bag-in-Boxes, there still seems to be some reluctance from bar managers to widely adopt the dispensing method, despite the better quality of cider served, and that even an opened Bag-in-Box will keep the cider fresh for up to 3 months - in an opened polycask, the cider will start to acetify (turn to vinegar) within a few days.

Real cider does not need to be served chilled, and certainly not "over ice". A cool-ish room temperature, very much like red wine, will be sufficient. If chilled too much the fruit aromas that give cider and perry its character are suppressed.

Real Cider in Cheshire

  • Cheshire Cider, Eddisbury - Draught and bottled www.eddisbury.co.uk 01829 759157
  • Mad Hatters, Stockport - Draught 07971539637 moc.dlrowltn@redicsrettahdam
  • Nook's Yard Cider & Perry, Northwich - Draught and bottled www.nooksyard.com 01606 891541 moc.drayskoon@ofni (Production suspended for 2016. It may start again in 2017)
  • Winsor Cheshire Dry Cider, Willington - Bottled www.willingtonfruitfarm.co.uk 01829 751216 ku.oc.liamtoh@smrafrosniw
  • Wrenbury Cider, Wrenbury - Bottled www.finediningwithcider.co.uk 01270 781212 moc.liamelgoog@redicyrubnerw (Limited production. Not available for direct supply to the public)
  • Gannon’s Cider, Marston – Lee Gannon, who is also technical manager at Tatton Brewery, has been producing cider for 18 months at his home on Marston, bottled and Bag-in-box various sizes. Currently limited availability (200 litres in 2015) but plans to expand. Two ciders are produced, both 5.8% - Big Hands plus Fapples, the latter being a fruit blend of blackberry and rhubarb. Local apples from Kelsall provide the bedrock for the products. Information and contact currently via Tatton Brewery site. The only current outlets are Tatton beer festivals, the Salt Barge in Marston plus the White Bear and Tap & Bottle in Knutsford. Check out the Gannons Cider Facebook Page and Gannons Cider Twitter account.
Traditional real cider and perry has seen a dramatic increase of both varieties and producers over the last few years.
The branch is aware of the following pubs serving traditional cider and perry: