Redefining Irish Cider

Cider Ireland logo illustration ARTCider Ireland is a trade association for makers of what we consider to be Real Irish Craft Cider. We have a collective and sincere interest in the quality and integrity of the final product. We obviously need to clearly define what we mean by Real Irish Craft Cider– it is perhaps easier to start with what we do not mean, and we do not mean any fermented sugar beverage with a splash of apple.

“real” cider

“artisan” cider

craft” cider

And what do all of the above mean? Well, nothing really, but we would like to redefine these words, to reclaim them, so for our group the above terms are used as follows:

Real Cider in that it is made using real apple juice, it is never made from juice concentrate, and we never add colourings or flavourings. We make our ciders from 100% Irish grown apples.

Artisan Cider in that it is made with the hands-on involvement of the producer; there is an understanding that the quantity is limited. We have chosen to describe ourselves as Irish Artisan & Micro Cider Makers – although we are currently producing relatively small quantities we are optimistic that we will see a growth in the demand for, and therefore production of “real” cider, and so have adopted the threshold that the Irish Revenue Commissioners use for micro-brewers, namely 20,000 HL.

Craft Cider like Craft Beer is a term used by many but defined by none. It is generally accepted that “craft” means small, independent and traditional. We are independent producers making cider in the traditional way and while we are all small, tiny, compared to the big boys we would obviously like to grow. (How big do you have to get before you are no longer considered small?) We are also, however, limited by the fact that we make cider from Irish grown apples – there are only a certain number of apples available to us in any given year, so we will always remain small compared to those producers who import apples, or use juice from concentrate.

For many reasons artisan and micro-cider producers have often been linked in the consumer’s mind with artisan and micro-brewers, but compare cider production with that of beer; a brewer works to a shorter cycle and the fermentation and storage tanks are filled and emptied a number of times per year whereas cider has a vintage and the production of real, artisan, craft cider, like wine, is an annual occurrence, using an annual crop which varies according to the weather, just as the quality and quantity of a grape harvest varies. In that way Irish cider may be considered to be a true Irish wine, made from an indigenous, natural ingredient, which has all the vintage and producer variations, as well as having the added benefit of being lower in alcohol than its grape counterpart.

 

3 thoughts on “Redefining Irish Cider

  1. Porter

    I just come across your website. I got reintroduced in beer in the last year or so due to the quality of Irish “craft” beer. I hope you can do the same for me with cider. I find the well known commercial brand far too sweet for my taste and far too acidic for my digestive system. I have found Stonewell and it reminded my of French cidre, a drink to be savoured rather than quaffed.

    I think it’s fantastic to see Irish producers using Irish produce to make quality Irish cider. Best of luck for the future.

    Reply
  2. CORMAC MCDERMOTT

    Hi, could I have a contact number to speak to someone about producing cider for me. Myself and a few friends from uni are interested in marketing a new type of cider in Belfast/Ulster
    Thanks for your time

    Reply
  3. Michael

    Hi,

    Do you know where I can buy best Irish ciders in Dublin?
    I am thinking about a shop with a good choice of those most natural in taste, without chemistry, ideally from small companies or from those best ones.

    Any help would be appreciated. I am not a connoisseur but I really like a good tasting cider so any help from you would be really great!

    Regards,

    Michael

    Reply

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