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Saturday 28 October 2017

Cider award sends a contradictory message

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. 

For several years now Australian's artisan cider producers have been hammering home a message about quality, regionality and the use of traditional cider apples. 

They formed an organisation, Cider Australia, and inaugurated some awards. 
But when the winner of the Cider Australia Awards for the best cider of the year was unveiled last night, it turned out to be a sweetish cider from an industrial producer in Ireland that uses table apples and apple concentrate and is designed to be enjoyed over ice. 

There have been some several controversial wine show results recently but nothing to leave an industry as red-faced as this. Two cider industry insiders I spoke to this morning were almost apoplectic. 

For the record, the winner of the 2017 Australian Cider Awards was Magners Original Apple cider, owned by global giant Bulmers. 

It is a perfectly good commercial cider, crisp and refreshing, but tastes nothing like what the Australian industry has been trying to promote. 

Magners Original Apple 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," according to the press release. 

If so, that's a kick in the face to all the artisan Australian producers who have been trying to raise awareness of traditional cider. Maybe the judges didn't get the message about craft cider; or maybe they just like commercial ciders. 

Other gold medals were awarded in the competition to St Ronan's Cider from Victoria, The Barossa Cider Co,, along with new entrant The Sparkke Change Beverage Company from South Australia and Westons Cider from England. 

Unfortunately, Cider Australia also forgot to put the results up on its own Twitter feed and website. Which is downright weird.  

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