Pear cider boom angers purists

The sweet fizzy tipple bears little resemblance to traditional perry

Something is brewing among the nation's cider enthusiasts, and it's not to everyone's taste. A row has broken out about whether bottles bearing a "pear cider" label should be allowed to do so.

The success of Bulmers, Magners and Kopparberg among others has contributed to a near 50 per cent rise in cider sales in the UK over the past 10 years. The market is now worth £2.7bn. But by labelling products "pear cider", some companies have upset traditionalists at the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), who say cider is made only from apples and that the companies are therefore giving both cider and perry – the traditional name for the alcoholic pear drink – a bad name.

Gillian Williams, from Camra's cider and perry campaigns committee, said companies such as Kopparberg, based in Sweden, should not be allowed to call their products cider at all.

"Perry is made predominately from pears and is a distinct product," she said. "Good cider and perry have been a British tradition for about 1,000 years. Calling something 'pear cider' when in our view it is nothing of the sort is wrong. You don't make an alcoholic drink from potatoes and call it whisky.

"Real cider and perry are between 6 and 8.5 per cent in strength, but most of these fizzy 'cider' drinks you find in the supermarket are about 4 per cent. Then you have the awful flavoured 'ciders' which are anything but and can contain raspberry, forest fruits or even lemongrass."

Ms Williams argues many of the mass-market ciders found in supermarkets should be labelled "ready to drink", or RTDs, the industry standard name for drinks sold in prepared form, such as alcopops. Camra says "real" cider must contain at least 90 per cent fresh apple juice. "We don't need people coming to the UK with their products masquerading as cider," Ms Williams added.

Rob Calder, Kopparberg's head of marketing, says the company names its products, such as "strawberry and lime cider", as "a short cut" adding its growing portfolio reflected a move to "lighter and sweeter tastes" in the UK. Beer manufacturers are also waking up to cider's popularity. Stella Artois launched its 4.5 per cent "Cidre" last year and followed it earlier this year with a pear version.

The National Association of Cider Markers (NACM), the UK industry body, said that drinks manufacturers were doing nothing wrong in labelling their products "pear cider". Among the definitions for tax purposes, HMRC states a cider or perry must include "a minimum of 35 per cent apple or pear juice" in making the final product.

A NACM spokesman said: "There is no difference between 'perry' and 'pear cider' in how they are produced or how they are taxed. The industry feels that 'pear cider' is the better name to explain to consumers what it is they are drinking."

In addition to the "Magners effect", many smaller brands have contributed to the surge in popularity of cider. But some British firms are staying away from the trend. Henry Chevallier Guild, a partner at Aspall, the Suffolk-based cider makers, said his company was not interested in "jumping on the pear cider bandwagon".

He added: "Sweetness is the dominant character,and little consideration is given to the word 'cider'. The whole sector teeters very close to being alcopops, which would be disastrous for the Aspall brand to be associated with."

Suggested Topics
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick