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
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
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

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before