Sunday 18 April 2010

The apple of my eye?

As there had been so much discussion about cider duty, I thought I would run a poll to find out how often blog readers drank cider. This has now closed, with 56 responses, broken down as follows:

Never: 9 (16%)
About once a year: 25 (45%)
About once a month: 13 (23%)
Most weeks: 6 (11%)
More than beer: 3 (5%)

I have to say very rarely drink cider in pubs, as few of the pubs I visit stock “real” cider anyway, and those that do also tend to have a choice of good beers. But I am partial to the occasional bottle at home from the likes of Weston’s, Thatcher’s, Henney’s and Sheppy’s.

It is very clear from the poll, though, that relatively few respondents drank cider at all regularly, with well over half saying they either never drank it, or only had it once a year (possibly at their local beer festival). This seems to underline the point that cider drinkers are something of a breed apart, and there is relatively little overlap between them and beer drinkers. I have seen very little about cider on the popular beer blogs, and indeed one or two have been a touch dismissive of it. A lot of beer drinkers might at various times include Guinness, premium lagers and cask ales in their “drinking repertoire”, but it’s unlikely they’ll also include cider.

While cider is officially an important campaigning priority for CAMRA, I get the impression that few members really identify with it or see it as something with which beer drinkers should be making common cause.


  1. Your poll was overly simplistic. You needed to cross reference certain attributes of the voter with their choice of vote. Then you could see whether any of the cider drinker were either under age, tramps or members of the Wurzels.

  2. Very few pubs stock real cider in the North West, which must be a factor. Is it because pubs and/or PubCos are unwilling to try something different, or because there is no demand? That's a chicken and egg question. I do sometimes enjoy a real cider, but I find that, whereas I can switch from beer to cider, I don't like going from cider to beer.

  3. Nobody has yet developed a brand of "real" cider with the potential of crossing over from the enthusiast market into the mainstream. And if they did APPLE would probably rule that it wasn't "real" anyway.

    A further problem is that most traditional cider is mindblowingly strong, whereas very little draught beer over 5% sells in volumes in pubs.

  4. Sorry about this Mudgie but I'm struggling to see what your point is here.

  5. The point is that the vast majority of beer drinkers, whether enthusiasts or the ordinary bloke in the pub, are not interested in cider and rarely if ever drink it.

  6. Yes, I got that bit. I'm just struggling with the precise point of making that point...?

  7. That if you drop cider and pear cider from your beer fest (it's pear cider NOT perry because language is fluid not constant), you'd have room on the bar for some Foster's, Clarkey. That's the point.

  8. John, it's a blog, not a political tract. Sometimes I just end up making random observations that don't go anywhere in particular. But you have to admit the results of the poll are rather telling...

  9. Yes, they tell me that 39% of 56 people drink cider at least once a month. Frankly, that means bugger all. However out in the real world, I guess about 1,000 people drank their way through 450 gallons of cider and perry at last year's Stockport Beer & Cider Festival (as you well know). Now, THAT'S rather telling (as is the growing number of pubs that successfully sell the stuff).

  10. The trouble with cider in pubs, well, those pubs North and East of Somerset, is that the landlords do not know how to "keep it".

    Most of it tastes like battery acid, and if you are unfortunate enough to get the first of the day, it is like double stregth domestos mixed with battery acid.

    But in a Higsons or a Whitbread pub, even THAT is better than the beer. So, when in Britain, I drink the cider. Even going to the extreem of getting them to throw the first pint away if it is "first of the day".

    A waste I know, but I have grown rather partial to my stomach lining.

  11. "A Higsons or Whitbread pub" - just how long it is since you were in the UK? They have both long since vanished from the pub scene. It is sadly true that some cider does still fall into the clicheed "battery acid" category but as Mudgie (who has been known to enjoy a glass or two in his time) will tell you, much of today's traditional cider and perry is a long way from that, particularly the products coming from many of the new producers.

  12. John Clarke said...

    "A Higsons or Whitbread pub" - just how long it is since you were in the UK?

    Can not say they will be missed. :-)

    It is 15 years since I was last in the U.K, and 20 since I was last in England.

    I agree, there are a LOT of good ciders/scrumpies out there. BUT, if the tap man/cellar man/Landlord does not know how to keep it, and does not clean the pipes more regularly than for beers, then even Bulmers and Woodpecker can taste foul.

    And, aye, I do realise that they may NOT be listed at the TOP of the cider range. But,in my opinion, they are a LONG way from bottom.

    I used to drink the scrumpy in "The ship" ("top" and "bottom"), in Porlock. GREAT! I think the secret there is casks as opposed to kegs (Kegs = metal. Is that always so?). The metal seems to "turn" the cider.

  13. I apologise, but, in my opinion, you are mistaken. I can defend the position. Write to me in PM, we will talk.


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