The process behind that dry cider that we all love
Come late November when the cider apples are ready and just starting to drop from their branches, Greg and his team of pickers go out to the orchards to collect as many apples as their sacks can carry and fill up the big blue van with a very apply fragrance that stays all season. Picking apples involves climbing up the trees to give ‘em a shake, then scrambling round the ground underneath trying to improve their ‘number of apples picked per minute’ personal bests and Bristol Ciderworks records. Sometimes they get breaks from work, where they would sit down to a bottle of the lovely stuff.
Once all the apples are collected from all the orchards that Bristol Ciderworks uses, it’s time for the pressing. Unlike in the past, these days an automatic machine is used to wash, crush and press the apples into juice. Greg then puts the juice into barrels and stores it in his barn for a few months, while the apples work their magic, using their own natural sugars and yeasts and fermenting away, eventually ending up in a delicious scrumpy cider. This cider is checked for alcohol volume, and often it’s a bit too high (“not possible!” I hear some of you say) so water is added to bring it down to around 6%. Some of the cider is left as draught whilst the rest is carbonated and bottled to make the sparkling stuff.
That’s it. Real cider made from just apples and nothing else. No added yeast, no chemicals, no sulphites.