Cider awards postponed

Cider Australia has announced that the 2020 Australian Cider Awards will be postponed due to COVID-19.

Competition organiser Cider Australia is saddened that the Australian cider community cannot come together this year to reward excellence in cider production but acknowledges the wellbeing of everyone involved takes precedence at this difficult time.

The judging of the annual cider show is held in Melbourne each October and involves a dedicated team of around 30 judges, stewards and staff, many of whom travel interstate or overseas to attend. Cider Australia has decided it is not feasible to proceed this year given the logistical challenges and health and safety risks posed by the pandemic.

We would like to thank all of our entrants, sponsors and judges for their ongoing support and will set our sights on making next year’s show bigger and better than ever.

Details about the next Awards will be announced in mid-2021.

Barossa Cider awarded Best in Show

Barossa Cider Co’s Squashed Apple Cider was awarded ‘Best in Show’, ‘Best Australian Cider’ and ‘Best New World Cider’ with a score of 97 in the New World Medium Sweet Class at the 9th Australian Cider awards, held on November 8 in Melbourne.

Hosted by Cider Australia, the show promotes and rewards excellence in cider production and brings together the Australian cider community in a celebration of the cider category’s rapid advancement.

“As a family owned business, we are really proud and humbled to receive these accolades after the past 6 years of hard work,” said Oscar Bowen, co-owner and director.

“After an idea around the dinner table that lead to my brother, Hugo and me traveling Europe and the UK for some enjoyable market research, we decided on a production style inspired by best in class techniques already being used in the Australian industry combined with our family and our own wine-making experience,” said Bowen.

“Our aim when we started this business was to produce the best possible easy drinking cider that would appeal to a broad demographic using only 100 per cent real Australian apples and pears, and we are extremely proud to receive this validation of what we originally set out to achieve.”

Woolworths wins cider duties dispute

Woolworths Limited has won a tariff dispute with the Australian government following a ruling by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) on its import of Savanna Dry alcoholic cider.

Woolworths had been required to pay duty on the cider after the Department of Home Affairs claimed the product, which features caramelised apple juice, did not meet the specific definitions of a cider under the relevant act. Meeting those conditions would have enabled the company to import the drink duty-free.

The outcome of the dispute turned on AAT deputy president Bernard J. McCabe’s analysis of the NaturBrown caramelised concentrate that is added to the fermented apple juice concentrate during the manufacturing process.

The  Department of Home Affairs said this additive has the effect of taking the product outside of the definition of “cider”.

McCabe said that, following his research of relevant literature – the Cook’s Illustrated “Caramelizing vs. Browning” and Science of Cooking “What is Caramelization” webpages – and evidence from expert food technologist Dr Simon Brooke-Taylor, he was satisfied the product conforms to the definition of cider under the relevant act and overturned the Department’s ruling.

“It has not been transformed into something else; it has just been made more delicious,” said McCabe.

“Nothing has been added; it is ultimately the same thing as the juice concentrate to which it is added.”

McCabe said that in making his decision he was not focusing on how NaturBrown should be classified if it were being imported, but was making “a commonsense determination about classification of the cider product” which required him to reach a view as to whether NaturBrown has been transformed into an additive that is something other than juice or the must of juice.

“I am satisfied from the evidence provided by Dr Brooke-Taylor that NaturBrown is ultimately ‘juice or the must of apples’ for present purpose,” he said.

The AAT decision will save Woolworths about $70 per litre of the cider that it imports into Australia.

Sydney Royal’s Grape, Grain & Graze Festival to ignite wine-lovers’ taste buds

People can keep warm in this winter with the Grape, Grain and Graze wine festival in Sydney.

The festival, formerly known as the Sydney Royal Wine Experience, will showcase hundreds of wines.

But it’s not only for wine lovers. There will be Sydney Royal award-winning beers and ciders as well.

Experts will be on site to explain why these beverages are considered the cream of the crop.

READ: First sweet wine symposium held at Margaret River, Australia

All this with Sydney Royal award–winning food and music to match.

Each of the 2300 wines are judged in the annual KPMG Sydney Royal Wine Show just days earlier. Ticketholders can then make their own judgements.

Industry judges will be on hand to answer questions and guide people’s palates around the stunning array of drinks on offer.

Sydney Royal Wine committee chairwoman Sally Evans said nowhere else in Australia would people be given this sort of opportunity to taste a vast array of award-winning wines, beers, ciders and produce.

“This is a once a year experience, offering extraordinary value for money, which brings the public into direct contact with the very best Australia has to offer from the land. These producers take extreme pride in what they create, and for the public to be able to enjoy these offerings on such a grand scale and all in the one location is a real treat,” said Evans.

“Whether you are seeking a fun afternoon out with your girlfriends, your partner or a group of mates, our team at Sydney Royal has every base covered for you,” she said.

The event will be held on the 11th of August at Sydney Olympic Park.


International focus for Australian cider

A $500,000 plan to market Australian craft cider* overseas will be the hot topic of conversation at today’s Cider Australia AGM, preceding the 2018 Cider Industry Conference and CiderFest in Batlow, NSW.

The Australian Government is investing $500,000 in the craft cider industry to build a brand proposition and marketing strategy aimed at boosting exports, as part of the $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package (the $50m Package).

Leading the conversation to develop a brand proposition and shape a go-to-market strategy for Australian craft cider will be Cider Australia President, Sam Reid, and internationally experienced brand strategist, Guy Taylor, engaged by Wine Australia and Cider Australia to develop a strategy that can be leveraged by Australian cider producers.

“Thanks to the $50m Package, we have a great opportunity to build a strong brand proposition that’s unique to Australia and meaningful in chosen markets,” said  Reid.

“The aim of the funding is to build a coherent brand proposition and go-to-market strategy that reflects the quality of ciders produced and marketed in Australia.

“Already our work with Wine Australia has given us access to data and learnings on cider markets around the globe.”

Insights from the Australian craft cider industry will be crucial in shaping this work. In the months preceding the AGM, Guy has been reaching out to craft cider producers to get their ideas and opinions on the craft cider industry.

A further step in the $500,000 plan is to develop a ‘toolkit’ to assist producers in understanding prospective export markets and navigating the rules and complexities associated with exporting to those markets. The Australian wine sector has developed an international reputation and exports 61 per cent of its production. The Australian craft cider industry also has the potential to achieve growth through building export markets.

* ‘Australian craft cider’ is cider produced in Australia using fresh Australian fruit ingredients.

Magners Apple Cider – the secret ingredient for mop sauce

Mop sauce is a barbeque basting method that keeps meat moist while cooking on the grill. The quality of sauce ingredients will determine the flavour and complexity of your barbeque; and Magners Cider can help make a good sauce.

Magners Original Apple Cider was voted Australia’s best cider, taking out the Best in Show award at the 2017 Australian Cider Awards.

A mop sauce is the perfect balance of heat and sweet, and since a large quantity is ‘mopped’ onto your meat while cooking, you don’t need to baste as often. Mop sauce adds a smokey flavour and keeps your meat from drying out. Apple cider provides the key tartness and balances out the sweetness of any recipe.

Magners Original Apple Cider uses 17 varieties of apples, waiting until they drop before pressing and filtering them in the traditional way. Stuart Boag, the brand’s Australian marketing manager says, “We take time to ferment the cider and even more time to let it mature, up to 2 years in fact, tasting it along the way”.

As well as the top honour for Best in Show, Magners Original Apple Cider also picked up Best New World Cider and Best International Cider or Perry.

With the recent packaging update, the brand also has an exciting and appealing new look to match the quality of the cider itself.

Magners Cider is distributed in Australia exclusively by Coca-Cola Amatil thanks to an agreement with brand owner C&C Group, which covers Magners Original (330ml and 568ml bottles and draught), and Magners Blonde (330ml). Magners can also be found in all major alcohol retailers.

Magners voted best cider in Australia

Magners Original Apple has been voted Australia’s best cider, winning ‘Best in Show’ at the 2017 Australian Cider Awards. As well as the top honour, Magners Original Apple also won Best New World Cider and Best International Cider.

This year saw the largest ever field of entries for these prestigious awards, with 250 local and international ciders taking part. Honoured at a gala dinner in Melbourne, the ‘Best in Show’ award came despite stiff competition from a host of new craft entrants to the fast-emerging cider category.

In recognition, the judges said that Magners Original Apple, which is made by C&C Group, was awarded the top prize because “it displayed a perfect balance of sugar, tannin and overall complexity combined with toasty, savoury, creamy notes – the ‘wow’ factor that helped this product rise to the top”.

Jason Ash, Chief Marketing Officer, C&C Group plc, commented: “We’re delighted to win ‘Best in Show’ at the 2017 Australian Cider Awards. This is international recognition for a cider that proudly adheres to the traditional methods employed since it was founded in 1935. Magners is made using 17 varieties of apples, many grown amongst our 150 acres of orchards and delivered directly to the cidery in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

To win such a prestigious award is a great tribute to the Magners team, their dedication and passion for preserving the essence and provenance of the brand, and giving us such a complex yet beautifully balanced and refreshing flavour to enjoy.

Australia is an integral international market for the Group, with sustained strong growth recorded in the last year. We’re excited with the prospects of our distribution agreement with Coca-Cola Amatil, with whom we share this great success”.

With the recent packaging update, Magners also has an exciting and appealing new look to match the quality of the cider itself. Magners Cider is distributed in Australia exclusively for C&C by Coca-Cola Amatil, including Magners Original (330ml and 568ml bottles and draught), Magners Pear (568ml bottles) and Magners Blonde (330ml).



Celebrating 10 years of craft beers

The Canberra Craft Beer & Cider Festival, taking place on Saturday 18 March, is set celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Running from 11am – 6pm in the grounds of the heritage Mercure Canberra, the event will feature breweries from across Australia along with live bands, food, entertainment and kids’ activities.

The festival is recommended for all beer and cider enthusiasts – from beginners to budding craft brewers. Over 100 beers and ciders will be available for tasting and visitors will be able to take part in beer/cider food matching sessions, hear guest speakers, and meet the brewers.

Breweries exhibiting will include the multi-award winning Sydney Brewery, Thatchers, Little Creatures, Dad and Dave’s Brewing, Stone Dog Meadery, Yenda, Hope Estate Beer Co and many others from across Australia.

This year, the Festival will help raise funds for ACT Cancer Support, a locally based organisation that currently provides support for 950 patients.

Premium cider on the rise across European markets, says Canadean

Premium cider brands in West Europe recorded a compound annual growth rate of almost 8% between 2009 and 2015, far exceeding competing price segment categories which all posted declines, says consumer insight firm Canadean.

According to the company’s latest research, one of the most important trends currently being recorded in the West European cider market is the premiumization trend, which has led to consumers spending more on quality cider at the expense of discount and mainstream brands.

Premium brands, determined as brands which have a price index between 115%-149%, when using the leading mainstream brand as the benchmark, have witnessed positive results from this. However superpremium brands, those priced in the market at a 150% price index and above on the leading brand, have not yet benefited from this trend, with consumers still exhibiting some caution with their spending.






The impressive growth seen in West Europe was driven by strong performances in Spain (3%) and France (15%), as well as huge growth in the Republic of Ireland (107%), helping to offset the 1% decline in the largest market by volume, the United Kingdom.

Growth in Spain, the second largest premium cider market by volume, was a consequence of the increased demand for imported cider and ‘natural’ cider, which is generally associated with premium and superpremium price points. Natural cider in particular benefited from its popularity with young adult consumers, who find the concept of filtered cider with no added sugar to be appealing.

France’s market was largely in line with the rest of the continent, with volumes declining overall and premium offerings the sole growth point. Consumers in France are increasingly switching their cider drinking habits to quality over quantity, driving value growth.

The exceptional gains witnessed in the Republic of Ireland market for premium brands can be partly attributed to the recovering economy that has restored consumer confidence. Ireland was the fastest-growing economy in West Europe in 2015, and in a traditional cider drinking market, this proved fruitful for premium brands. Heineken also introduced its Orchard Thieves brand in 2015. After vigorous taste panel testing with Irish consumers, it has been designed specifically for the Irish palate, and entered the market with a high price point that more than doubled the volumes in the premium price segment.

Canadean states that premium cider will continue its consistent growth pattern in West Europe in 2016 due to rising consumer interest and willingness to purchase higher priced and quality ciders. Brewers quick to jump on this trend, as Heineken has been in the Republic of Ireland, could capitalize on this shift in consumer buying behavior by focusing on development of more unique and premium cider offerings.

Information is based on Canadean’s reports: Spain Cider Market Insights Report 2016; France Cider Market Insights Report 2016; Republic of Ireland Cider Market Insights Report 2016.

New canning line has cider producer set for summer

AN Adelaide Hills cider maker has installed a new canning line as it prepares to exploit the low sugar edge it has over its rivals.

Sidewood, which also produces a range of wines, has been making cider since 2014 and has established the canning line at its Nairne winery as part of its philosophy of maintaining control of the process from start to finish.

Previously under glass, the first commercial cans of Sidewood’s apple and pear ciders are expected to roll off the line in the coming weeks.

The small-scale Cask Brewing System, from Canada, can fill about 3000 cans an hour and is scalable to allow for expansion of Sidewood’s current target of 10,000 cases a year.

The fruit for the cider is sourced from Lenswood Apples, an Adelaide Hills co-operative with a growing global reputation.

Sidewood owner Owen Inglis said demand for cider in recent years, the similarities between wine and cider making and their location within an apple growing region made the decision to add cider to the wine list easy.

“Basically there was an opportunity and there’s some fantastic fruit here,” he said.

“Our vineyard was an apple orchard at one stage and cider is just like wine but it’s made from apples – we make it exactly the same way as you would make a Riesling.”

Sidewood also juices its own apples and pears rather than buying virgin juice.

Inglis said this helped maintain consistent high standards because it  “allows us to eyeball the quality of the fruit”.

He said Sidewood would begin marketing its ciders as “no added sugar” after testing at a cider certified lab in Victoria found their pear and apple ciders to be significantly lower in sugar than all of the other 17 market leading brands to be tested.

“Cider ferments quickly so we’re very careful about stopping the ferment when sugar and alcohol levels are where you want them, which is exactly what you do with wine, so we’re not adding back any sucrose at all. It’s a very natural product.

“We’ll be marketing that ‘no added sugar’ quite hard.”

Inglis said while there were advantages around freshness and shipping, cost was the main motivation for going from glass to cans with the cider.

“Bottling is very expensive in this country so the craft beer producers are going into cans – a lot of them with this same Canadian system we are operating on,” he said.

While cider is an important part of the Sidewood story, the wine side of the business is growing fast, thanks to strong export growth.

Inglis purchased a fourth Adelaide Hills vineyard this year growing grape production to about 800 tonnes in 2016.

He said a bottling wine for still and sparkling wine at the Nairne winery was planned to be operational by late 2017.

“The philosophy that we have is that we want to control the process from growing it to bottling it.”

The only part of the process Sidewood will not control from next season is the growing of the apples.

“The price of juicing apples is so low that it doesn’t make commercial sense as a commercial producer,” Inglis said.

“We are planting right now a number of different varieties but it will just be very small batches and not commercial.”


This article first appeared on The Lead.

Sassy Cider – L’inimitable

Product Name: Sassy Cider – L’inimitable

Product Manufacturer: Maison Sassy

Launch date: Late Dec '15- Early Jan '16

Ingredients: 22 Varieties of Apple Juice (Fermented), Sulphites

Shelf Life: 18 months

Packaging: 330mL & 750mL glass bottles

Product Manager: Noble Spirits

Country of origin: France

Brand Website:

Describe the product: L’inimitable shows a perfect balance between the dry of a dry cider and the fruit of a semi dried cider. Characterised by an aromatic complexity and delicacy, this cider, served at 8°, is a perfect match for an aperitif or to go with meat, cheese (Camembert, Pont l’Evêque) or an apple dessert.

Contact Email:

Cheeky Rascal steals win at the Australian Cider Awards

Boutique cider house Rebello has taken out best in class in the inaugural ‘cider with fruit’ category of this year’s Australian Cider Awards with its ‘Passionfruit Pink Lady’.

Made with Victorian grown pink lady apples and real passionfruit, Passionfruit Pink Lady was created as a limited edition range to the Cheeky Rascal Cider family, but proved was so popular, it’s now part of the core range.

As with all of Cheeky Rascal Ciders it’s made using 100% real fresh fruit, without concentrates and flavourings by third generation entrepreneurs of the Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, Matt and Ruth Gallace.

There were 155 entries across 18 classes in the annual awards, but this was the first time a category was created for cider or perry with real fruit.

Judges described it as a “well-made, clean, bright, crisp cider with grippy passionfruit character”.

Cider Australia President Sam Reid says the addition of the new class for ciders, made with the addition of natural fruits other than apple and pear, was to ensure the awards reflect the diversity of cider styles available to and enjoyed by Australian consumers.

"Our goal is to drive and reward innovation in cider making, and it's great to be seeing some solid results in these new classes."

Rebello CEO Ruth Gallace says it’s humbling to take out the inaugural award at what is the largest cider awards in the country.

“Having a category to recognise the work which goes into blending real fruit with cider is not only validation for cider makers like ourselves who have invested heavily for many years to produce a quality real fruit cider alternative, but it also provides credibility and clarity for the customer.”

Passionfruit Pink Lady was created on the back of requests by Cheeky Rascal’s loyal followers who it canvassed asking them to identify fruits they’d like to see blended with cider.

Diageo loses its love of wine amid sale rumours

Alcohol giants Diageo, owners of Jonnie Walker and Ciroc vodka are looking to offload their wine division.

“Diageo fell out of love with wine following the great recession of 2008-09 when it saw that the category could not offer the returns it was looking for,” Jeremy Cunninton, senior Alcoholic Drinks Analyst at Euromonitor International.

Brands including Blossom Hill and Piat d’Or will likely be sold off to Australian wine maker Treasury Wine Estates.

The deal for Diageo to sign with Treasury has not be confirmed as of yet but if Diageo signs that dotted line they will join Treasury wine brands Penfolds, Wolf Blass, Lindermans and Matua.

“The main benefit for the buyer (Treasury Wine Estates) will be Diageo’s US wine assets with the premium and brands such as Sterling Vineyards, which will greatly improve Treasury Wine Estates generally low value US portfolio” Cunninton said.

The CEO of Diageo has been under some pressure to offload the wine sector of the company, as it is estimated to only make up around five per cent of the global revenues.

“The fact there is a sale now may in part be due to some pressure to sell, but it is more likely there was someone willing/able to offer a suitable price,” Cunninton said.