ukcider has a working definition of real cider which focusses on the ingredients. The biggest difference between craft ciders and industrial ciders such as strongbow, magners and blackthorn is in the juice content. It stands to reason really, that something made from 100% fresh (not concentrated) fruit juice is goig to have a lot more natural flavour than sugar, glucose, water and malic acid. So we have this:
Real cider is the product of fermenting fresh apple juice.
The amount of apple juice which went into the final product must be between 85 and 100% and should be clearly stated on the container it is sold in or dispensed from.
No artificial sweeteners, flavourings or colourings
( For real perry substitute pear juice ) ukcider 30/11/2003
The point about ingredients labelling is something which is actively campaigned for by ukcider. We believe that cider drinkers of all types deserve to know exactly what goes into the products, and that this can only help the craft or artisan perry and cider makers who work with the unadulterated full juice.
The Real Ale organisation camra, on the other hand, has a definition which allows for the addition of extraneous sugar “to aid fermentation” but then goes on to suggest that “Ideally, however the minimum juice content should not be lower than 90% volume.” which is fine.
There is then a controversial clause in their description of “how to make real cider” which appears to condone the following practice under that heading:
A number of the larger producers will add sugar at the fermentation stage, enabling the cider to reach 12-14%abv, and then it is diluted down before it is sold (the legal limit for cider is 8.5%abv).
We were assured on 9th July that the above is not intended to cause ambiguity and will be altered on the website to avoid any confusion.