What is real cider and perry?

ciderlogoReal cider is a long-established traditional drink which is produced naturally from apples and is neither carbonated or pasteurised. Perry is the equivalent drink made from perry pears.

Recognising that this traditional drink was facing a similar threat of extinction to that which real ale faced in the 1970s, CAMRA set up a cider and perry committee within CAMRA to inform consumers about the choice of real cider and perry available and to encourage the producers to continue production.

Most well known ciders in the UK are cold, fizzy keg products which have been produced artificially rather than naturally. However, thanks to CAMRA, the hard work of real cider & perry producers and, ironically, the raising of cider’s profile with drinkers brought about by the marketing budgets of those artificial products, many pubs across Manchester are now stocking real cider and perry. The popularity of real cider and perry with the area’s drinkers has led to the organisation of the first Greater Manchester Cider & Perry Festival.

CAMRA’s Definition of Real Draught Cider & Perry:

Ingredients

  • The liquid content before fermentation must consist entirely of non-pasteurized apple (cider), or pear (perry) juice
  • No apple or pear juice concentrates to be used.
  • Normally, only the sugar naturally available in the fruit should be used to cause fermentation, but in years when the level of natural sugar in the fruit is low, the addition of extraneous sugar to aid fermentation is acceptable.

Process

  • No pasteurization to take place during the production process in relation to the cask product.
  • 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).

Beware of imitations

There are many drinks on the bars & fridges of pubs and bars which claim to be cider. However, most of these are not made from apples and only apples. Many famous names are actually made from apple concentrate. Others may make the cider traditionally but then artificially add carbon dioxide to make the drink overly fizzy. In the worst cases the apple juice isn’t even fermented to produce the drink – instead the alcohol is produced separately and added to the apple flavouring at the end of the process.

The most ridiculous recent addition designed to confuse drinkers is “Pear Cider” – there is no such thing. Cider is made from apples. Perry is made from pears. More often than not, “pear ciders” are actually artificial ciders with pear flavouring.

Real cider & perry is most commonly served direct from a plastic cask on the back bar of a pub. Some producers, most significantly Westons’ use a “bag in box” system similar to that used for some wines which will also be served from the back bar. Some pubs do serve real cider or perry from a handpump similar to real ale – however this doesn’t always signify a real cider. Some producers, most notably Addlestones routinely use branded handpump but the drink is actually made from apple concentrate so isn’t real cider.

Below is a list of the most common ciders that CAMRA does not recognise as being real:
Please note that this list is not necessarily complete.

The most common reasons a cider or perry is not considered to be real are that it is carbonated, pasteurised, micro-filtered, or concentrate juice has been used.

  • Addlestones
  • Aspall
  • Ashton Press
  • Brothers
  • Bulmers
  • Diamond White
  • Dry Blackthorn
  • Gaymer’s
  • Jacques
  • K Cider
  • Kopparberg
  • Magners
  • Merrydown
  • Rattler
  • Rekorderlig
  • Samuel Smith’s
  • Saxon
  • Saxon Farm
  • Scrumpy Jack
  • St Helier
  • Stowford Press
  • Strongbow
  • Taunton
  • Thatchers Gold
  • Thistly Cross Cider
  • Westons Ice
  • Woodpecker

For more infomation on the Campaign For Real Ale and the promotion of traditional Cider & Perry visit www.camra.org.uk/cider