Cider is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples.
At least, it is in England. In the US, 'cider' is rough apple juice,
'hard cider' is the fermented stuff! In France it's cidre,
it's sidra and in the German-speaking world it's apfelwein.
all quite different, but they're all based on apples!
cider is fairly straightforward. It's made from 100% juice and
'vintage' English cider apples. There are many different ways of making
cider and I don't think one should be too dogmatic about which is the
I don't, for instance, agree with the purists that pasteurisation or
use of apple juice concentrate should necessarily be regarded with
- in my view, excellent ciders can still be made that way (although I
happen to do it myself). On the other hand, I'm not too keen on making
high strength 'glucose wine' with added sugars and then diluting it
with water. But I'm a great believer in the controlled use of
dioxide, although I've now moved away from cultured yeasts in favour of
a semi-natural succession of 'wild yeasts'. What I do suits
in any case I'm always experimenting!
If you're really interested in the exact details, you can find
out of date!) descriptions of my orchard and my current cidermaking
on the following links:
Something to read!
years ago, I wrote a series of articles on small-scale cidermaking for
a 'self-sufficiency' magazine called 'Home Farm' (now re-named 'Country
Smallholding'). The copyright in the articles is mine and I
it might be useful to put them here on the Web so that anybody who's
can read them.
Click on the titles below if you want to read these articles.
they were written in a simple and chatty style for a magazine. I have
them lightly to bring them up to date a bit, but otherwise they remain
as originally published in 1992. I've probably changed my personal
to cidermaking a little since then, but the basics haven't altered!!
In 2008 I considerably updated and expanded the "Science of
Cidermaking" and it's now available to purchase as a book called
extra stuff for boffins.......
....... for technologists,
...... and for historians!!
you want to know more?
If you want a serious scientific treatment of the subject you
read my chapter on 'Cidermaking' in 'Fermented
Beverage Production' (second edition) edited by Andrew Lea
Piggott. In that chapter you'll find lots of references to
Long Ashton work, which was also very ably reviewed in various
articles by my old boss Fred Beech, whose knowledge of cider chemistry
and microbiology was encyclopedic and unsurpassed. Sadly, Fred died in
autumn 1995, and with him went the end of an era.
You can see an abridged
version of this
by clicking here, and an
shorter pictorial version here (beware
- it's a 1.3 MB PDF download so only for those on broadband!)
but if you want to see the whole thing
you'll have to
or borrow the book !
Some other reasonably priced and
'how-to-do-it' books which I recommend are
- Making, using and enjoying sweet and hard cider" by Annie
and Lew Nichols - ISBN 1-58017-520-1 - Storey Publishing, Massachusets.
This is the third edition published in 2003. I liked the
(1980) rather better - it had more pictures and drawings (and a
acknowledgement to me and all my Long Ashton colleagues, which got
due to a typo in the second edition and was not restored in the third!)
But the third edition does
plans for a press
the one I made for myself.
CIDERMAKING - On a small scale" by Michael Pooley and John
ISBN 1-85486-195-6 - Nexus Special Interests, Kent. This was
published in 1999, and is a good description of how to
make cider in a 'naturalistic' manner on a small scale at home
(but it does
contain a serious
typographical error!). This book, like the Proulx and
one, also includes plans for a small scale cider press, in this case of
the 'slatted basket' type. See the Shropshire
Apple Network website for more details about the book, the
and associated training courses.
- Hard and Sweet" by Ben Watson -
ISBN 978-0881508192 - The
Press, Woodstock, Vermont. The second edition of this book
was published in 2008
is an excellent practical guide similar in concept to the Proulx and
volume described above. It's written by an American author
US perspective but with a fair bit of European background and some
historical detail too.
All these books are currently in print and readily obtainable from
(or from a real bookshop, if you can get to one!)
- "The New Cider Maker's Handbook" (2013) by Claude Jolicoeur - ISBN 9781603584739 - Chelsea Green Publishing,Vermont -
is now the definitive manual for all small scale cidermakers in
North America and also beyond. Based on Claude's 25 years of
personal experience, plus discussions with other cidermakers
worldwide, it covers many topics not found elsewhere such as 'ice
ciders' and has a particular focus on naturally
conditioned sweet ciders from slow fermentations. Claude is an
engineer by profession so there are excellent discussions of mill
and press design too.
And a superb orcharding book (2001) by an ex Long Ashton colleague of
SOMERSET POMONA - the Cider Apples of Somerset"
by Liz Copas - ISBN
I-874336-87-3 - has now been privately reprinted and is available
directly from the author herself. There are 20 or
pages of interesting introduction about Somerset Cider Apples and their
use historically, a bit about the current UK craft cider
and then 80 individual apples described in detail with botanical,
and cider characteristics together with excellent coloured plates of
For some excellent and thoughtful historical background on
cidermaking and its current craft revival, plus lyrical essays and
photographs of many
contemporary craft cidermakers in the UK:
by James Crowden ISBN 9781841586274 was
published in 2008. It makes a cogent case for early bottled cider in
the 17th century, and in particular explains how the French
Champagne makers 50 years later borrowed their technology from
cidermakers in the Forest of Dean, and not the other way around!
Further book resources are given on my 'Further
Resources' page (well, where else?)
Web-based Cider Resources
look elsewhere on the Web for small-scale cidermaking information you
start with Gillian Grafton's Real
Cider and Perry Page.
This was taken over and maintained by Paul Gunningham for several
years. After his sad death in 2007 it was merged into Old
Scrump's Cider House
- which is an amalgamation of Gillian Grafton's Real Cider &
website and Paul Gunningham's Scrumpy User Guide website, and is now
maintained by Frank Blades.
For e-mail or web-based discussions and news on UK craft cidermaking,
sign up to the
Workshop mailing list. You can find the joining details on
Workshop website. If you live in North America or
to discuss serious technical issues you should
also subscribe to the US-based e-mail Cider
Both discussion groups are international in their reach and complement
each other, so both are worth reading wherever you live.
Some other interesting links to small-scale commercial or
The last four listed are new cider businesses established since the
Millenium, typical of the most recent breed of energetic craft
cidermakers who have typically downshifted from previous careers in
- Roy Bailey's Lambourn
Valley Cider in West Berkshire (UK, that is!)
- Richard Anderson's Westcott
Bay Orchards on the US Pacific Coast
Bradshaw's Lost Meadow operation in Vermont - a hobby run to
standards with some very interesting orcharding and cider-making
details on his website
Hill Cider in New Hampshire
County Cider in Western Massachusetts, run by Judith
Maloney, an inspiration behind Franklin County Cider Days!
- Black and Fagan's Cider
in Michigan -
'case history' of a small scale cider business which is no more!
Cider in deepest Herefordshire (back to the UK again!)
- Julian Temperley's Burrow
Hill Cider and the unique Somerset Cider Brandy
Oliver's excellent cider and perry from Ocle Pychard in
Orchard's (aptly named!) cider and perry from
Brockweir in the Wye Valley.
Minchew, the idiosyncratic perry maker from near Tewkesbury
- More award winning craft cider and perry from Gregg's
Frome Valley Cider - one of the highest quality mainstream ciders with
UK national distribution
- On the rather bigger side, Sheppy's
near Wellington, in Somerset
- Likewise in Suffolk, Aspall's Cyders which are
distinctive, mostly full juice,
and nationally available throughout the UK
- Ray and Gail Blockley's Torkard
Cider from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, not in recent years
regarded as a cider county!
- Mark Shirley's Rockingham Forest Cider from the
Welland Valley of Northamptonshire. Again this is not seen as
traditional cider territory.
- Allen Hogan's
pure juice cider from Warwickshire.
- The lovely and eclectic Cider
by Rosie is a cottage industry
run by Rose Grant in deepest Dorset!
Cider Museum is well worth a visit too. For supply of wholesale speciality ciders, try Orchard
Hive and Vine in Leominster, near Hereford.
Of course there are plenty of mainstream commercial links
nowadays too (Weston's,
Thatcher's, Bulmer's, Aston Manor etc.) but you can give
your brain a workout and find them for yourself through Google or
something (or look on the Further
The Three Counties Cider and Perry Association (3CCPA)
is a thriving group of small high-quality cider producers in the
counties of Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and
with a smattering of members from adjoining counties eg Dorset,
Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Warwickshire. The Marcher
and the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust have
great sites to
visit too. The
up by the National Association of Cidermakers in the UK, is the place
information about mainstream commercial cidermaking. The
website (a trade association for cider and fruit wine
throughout Europe) is also worth a look.
If you need your own apples contract pressed by a local team,
you live within striking distance of Ledbury (Herefordshire), check out
Deborah and Nigels' charming site for their Little Cider Press
Company. And be sure to watch their video too!
If you live further away without apples of your own, you may
be able to buy apples from their contacts and have them pressed too.
And, if you need some serious training or consultancy in cidermaking,
check out Peter Mitchell's website at The Cider Academy.
Peter was originally
for the development of the Core Food and Drink Centre at Pershore
College, near Worcester (now sadly closed), and for the
production of the award winning Hindlip and Avonbank ciders
perries. He offers courses both in the UK and the USA (East and West Coast)
There are more cider-related websites on the 'Further
If you want to search my
for something specific, try this handy search tool here:
If you want to ask a
technical question about
cidermaking which might be of general interest to others, why not join
and post it to the Cider Workshop or
the Cider Digest?.
friendly communities of people with a good smattering of technical
experts, myself included, so somebody there will probably have the
But finally, if you want to e-mail me specifically about
cider-making, please contact me at
replacing the "at" by the normal @ symbol (anti-spam measure)
Back to my home page
again with menu frame?
Last Revision October 2013