Cider tasters wanted for serious research

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THE WORLD'S largest cider maker is to pay people pounds 5 an hour to taste its drinks.

The Hereford company H P Bulmer, which accounts for nearly 50 per cent of cider sales in Britain, has advertised at the city's jobcentre for 20 cider tasters. Full training will be provided and no experience is needed.

Cider sales are increasing and image-conscious brands are adding a new dimension to the market, just as they have done for beer. George Thomas, spokesman for the company, said its new pounds 3.5m technical centre was looking for new recipes.

Tasting has traditionally been done by the cider makers, helped recently by in- house volunteers. Now, Mr Thomas said, it was hoped 'the observations of the man and woman in the street will prove invaluable in our quest for excellence'.

The tasters will spend two mornings a week alone in cubicles sipping Scrumpy Jack, Strongbow and Woodpecker from Bulmer's 110 vats, besides trying out new recipes. Mr Thomas said yesterday: 'We are expecting a lot of applicants and they will be closely vetted . . . this is not a jolly or a drinking session but a serious piece of research.'

He said the new recruits would 'need to acquire a nose for cider. Just like wine tasting, it's all about the three s's - sniffing, sipping and spitting'.