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Cider: It's what the cool kids are drinking

Friday 30 Jul 2010 11:09 a.m.

Cider sales in NZ had a 139 percent increase last summer (file)

Cider sales in NZ had a 139 percent increase last summer (file)

By Benjamin Quigan

Cider has been rebranded to appeal to a market of young, fashionable, cooler drinkers.

An apparent influx of cider to the beverage market seemed to come from nowhere, when two of New Zealand’s biggest breweries – Monteiths and Macs – released ciders.

Suddenly something that had always been seen as something stored in a 1.5L soft drink bottle you passed by at the supermarket, or played “Scrumpy Hands” when you were an amateur drinker, comes in a glass bottle and with a new “cool” image.

More bars have begun stocking cider, with some even having it on tap – something virtually unheard of for anyone other than a beer drinker three years ago.

The past summer was a record for the cider category. More than 131, 500 litres were sold in December 2009 than a year earlier.

That’s a 139 percent increase.

I don’t claim to be an expert on cider and it’s not a product that I would have bought – had the Missus not requested it.

But for the sake of seeing what all the fuss is about, I’ve tried a few of the bigger players in the market.

I’ve picked three to compare:

  • Monteiths crushed apple cider
  • Macs Isaac’s cider
  • Magners original Irish cider

Monteiths crushed apple cider (4.5 percent)

The colour is a lot lighter than I expected; a pale, dull, yellow shade.

The aroma is not overly strong; more a subtle, green apple-skin smell.

Upon first tasting it is sweet, with a strong green apple taste, but there is no real complexity to the drink.

It is definitely drinkable, however I wouldn’t hurry to buy it again.

Macs Isaac's Cider (5 percent)

It is a shade darker than the Monteiths and offers a stronger, almost yeastier aroma.

It is sweet, but not as sweet as the Monteiths.

The flavour is riper, less of the green apple and more a fuller taste.

Personally, this wouldn’t be something I would buy for myself all the time, but it does make a refreshing change from the norm.

Magners Original Irish Cider (4.5 percent)

The Magners Irish Cider is made using 17 varieties of apples, fermented and matured for up to two years.

It is a peachy colour, tastes sweet, but drinkable.

The 17 varieties of apple are immediately obvious – Magners is refreshing and crisp tasting. It is a unique taste, but it works.

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