It was a privilege last night to take part in the first ever North of England Cider Association meeting at the well stocked cider destination, The Font bar in Manchester.
So who was there, why do we need such an association and how can Moss Cider play our part in its future?
Who was there: A great mix of cider producers, drinkers, resellers, orchardists and even a heritage apple enthusiast.
Why: Simple really, despite the resurgence of cider our humble beverage is under threat. If you ever want a heated debate among cider makers get them talking about fruit content. You see, the question "What is cider?" should read "How much apple is in my glass?". Under HMRC rules cider can have as little as 35% (scarily I've heard some producers use less than that!) fruit content. I'm proud to say our ciders are 100% fruit and that's what many small scale "craft" producers call "Real Cider" with CAMRA setting the bar even higher as to what can be deemed real cider adding that it should not be unnaturally carbonated or pasteurised (whoops... guilty on the latter for some batches).
So one thing we cleared up from the start is that we as group want to setup and put in place is clear labelling telling you dear drinkers exactly what's in the bottle and hopefully some kind of mark/badge telling you the fruit content. It's amazing when you actually read a cider label and you don't even see a list of ingredients.
As for other agenda items, well more meetings will determine where we go. A seat at the table when the big decisions are made at the highest level, right up to the corridors of power themselves is something we want to be have.
So for now we're a coming-together of consumers, orchardists, cider-makers and resellers, based in Manchester, Liverpool, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria who share a passion for the drink of cider (and perry).
Aims: To be honest & open about what is in cider made in the North of England; to share information & resources; to promote wider understanding of traditionally made, full-juice cider; to represent North of England Cider at a national level; to be sociable.
If you have an interest in cider and are based in the North of England, please join us.
We're at the very early stages of formation, still lots to discuss and many didn't even get an invite to join in, if that's you, we're sorry, please come to the next meet up! For now you'll find all the latest info over on Facebook.