One of the signposts that gives me confidence to say that 2019 is the year the world gets to #rethinkcider is that there is so much bloody stuff going on. The fact that I have to extend your reading misery by doing this article over two parts is testament to the sheer number of cider events taking place this year. But, of course, dear readers, as we know, quantity is not necessarily commensurate with quality. Well, luckily for us ciderphiles, it just so happens that we have a stellar line up of events.
First up, exceedingly imminently, and in the first flush of is the joy that is Blossomtime at the Big Apple. In my book, Ciderology (still available – please buy before it goes in the bargain bin of shame), I rather dramatically described the Big Apple as “my favourite thing in the world. Better than my birthday. Better than sexagesimal trigonometry. It’s pretty bloody good.” Not that I’ve ever been prone to hyperbole, eh?!
As well as the manifold talks, tastes, walks and general celebration of all things apple-y and orchard-y in The Shire, it is also the first opportunity to see who has made some cracking cider and perry last year. I, alongside my brother Alex, made 50 litres of Dymock perry last year, which will be entered, although our natural enthusiasm is somewhat tempered by the slightly disconcerting “sausage like” characters emanating from the liquid…..
But the judging doesn’t stop here, oh no. The Museum of Cider in Hereford will once again test the taste buds of a select band of judges before the British Cider Championships and International Cider Competition at the Royal Bath and West Show sweep into town (well, Shepton Mallet) at the end of May.
But, in many, ways all of these events are a precursor to the most significant event this summer – The Cider Salon. After the overwhelming success of last year’s first instalment, organisers Martin Berkeley and Tom Oliver (ably unassisted by yours truly) are back once again to champion the finest cider and perry in the land, and a little further afield, too. Put it in your diary, folks: SATURDAY 8th JUNE – BRISTOL. But actually, get yourselves down on the Friday afternoon so you can participate in a spectacular Cider Dinner at Yurt Lush before enjoying a number of talks and tastes on Saturday morning/lunchtime prior to the main event itself taking place at The Trinity centre from 3:30.
Estonian champagne style cider? Check. Devonian on-leaf fermented Yarlington Mill? Check. The world’s hottest brewer right (Johnny Mills, y’all), who also rather fortuitously likes playing with cider, too? Check. Cider menus, hosted tasting dinners, new releases and Sunday cider tours….The Cider Salon 2019 is going to be epic. Be there! And please, please share the word and tell all the ferment-fans you know!!
Aaaaaaand finally….. I’ve teamed up with some cider legends to create something, that we think, will (quite literally) change the narrative around cider. I truly believe that we have entered a period whereby there is an openness and willingness of curious drinkers to try something new. And cider absolutely is one of those drinks. It’s just that the drinks trade and the drinkers themselves don’t know this yet. But now there is a great opportunity for cider to have the awareness and respect it deserves. There just needs to be a bit of guidance on what this cider lark is all about.
So.….say hello to Full Juice. A free publication available into the trade, the aim is to do for cider what Original Gravity has done for beer. And to make this happen, the Full Juice crew comprises of myself alongside award winning drinks writer Pete Brown; award-winning drinks writer, Imbibe Live cider ambassador and Little Pomona co-founder, Susanna Forbes; and last, but not least award-winning writer, photographer and general cider geezer, Bill Bradshaw. Did I mention that they were award winning writers? Not a bad little line up, eh?
Episode One gets out into the world at the end of May with celebratory events taking place at The Cider Salon in Bristol (8th June) and with London and Manchester TBC very soon. There’s a website on the way, but for now keep abreast via Twitter, Insta and Facebook.
Full Insight. Full Passion. Full Juice. Told you this is the year that folk start to #rethinkcider. Spread the word.