How To Enjoy Craft Cider All Year Round

3 cans of craft cider

Amongst consumers, cider is typically seen as a drink for the summer season, perfect for festivals, or a day at the beach or relaxing with friends in the sun. That is reflected in sales of the drink: as the days grow longer, cider sales increase by an average of 16% according to the CGA. As the days draw in, sales decline, with January typically being the driest month for cider sales. But colder nights and less sunshine is no reason to banish cider – you can enjoy the drink all year round.

Why is cider associated with the summer?

The fruitiness and freshness of cider is often what makes it mistakenly associated with summer. Picture a glass of cider and you’re likely to conjure up an image of an ice-cold glass set against sunny skies and the great outdoors. Those who traditionally enjoy beer for most of the year may opt for a cider during the summer months, and that can also skewer our perceptions. And it is true to a point – nothing can compete with a glass of cider in the summer. However, delve deeper into cider and the different ways in which it can be enjoyed, and you’ll start to see that it can’t be beaten in the autumn and winter either!

Is cider suitable all year round?

The short answer is yes. According to Barny Butterfield, our founder: “Beers get darker, cider gets richer” during the cooler months of the year. In recent years, we’ve seen an upward trend in sales of cider beyond the summer months.

Cider drinkers that tend to stick with the drink in the autumn and winter often opt for higher-alcohol ciders that are richer in taste, have a stronger depth of flavour and tend to pair well with the more heartier comfort meals we associate with colder weather such as stews. The bittersweet characteristics of such ciders are the perfect complement to those heavier foods. In those months where we want to stay indoors – the ‘richer, rewarding and savouring times of year’, as Barny describes it – cider certainly has a place in our drinks cabinet.

The wonderful thing about cider is that it is so broad, and that is especially true for Sandford Orchards cider. All our drinks are made from cider apples, which is an incredibly flexible fruit that offers lots of different fermentation methods. Where some may opt for the punchier ciders, others may prefer still ciders, in the same way a wine lover would opt for a rioja for some occasions before preferring a glass of malbec for others – cider is just as diverse. If you want to better understand the ins and outs of cider terminology, head to our blog where we tackle the different types of cider. (link to be inserted)

What’s more, autumn and winter in the UK aren’t just endless weeks of grey skies and rain: one of the things we love most at Sandford Orchards are those crisp winter days without a cloud in the sky and where the sun is shining non-stop. No, it might not be t-shirt weather, but it does call for a rewarding cold and refreshing cider to remind you of warmer days to come – a Devon Red is the perfect accomplice for days like that.

The joys of mulled cider

With the festive period fast approaching, may we introduce to you a drink that may fully convert you to cider drinking year-round: mulled cider. Many of you may already be seasoned mulled cider drinkers, but if not, you must try a cup this winter. During the past decade or so, the number of people opting for mulled cider over a mulled wine has increased dramatically. Why? The secret is in the heat. When you heat a red wine to make the more traditional mulled wine, the high alcohol content creates a very heavy body that is tolerable for one cup, say, but not for a second or third. Cider, on the other hand, is much lighter and fruitier than wine, meaning it can be enjoyed over and over without the overpowering punch that mulled wine packs. In recent years at our annual Christmas Market in Exeter, we’ve seen sales of mulled cider skyrocket, which is great to see and testament that cider isn’t just for summer.

If you want to know more about the cider-making process, head to our blog post where we tell you everything you need to know about the drink.

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