Cider’s Heritage

The apple is one of the oldest fruits known. Apples originated in the valleys and foothills of the Tien Shan (天山) - meaning heavenly mountain - region that sits across what is now Western China and Central Asia. Apples were probably domesticated 4,000 years ago and the apple was almost certainly one of the first global commodities to travel along the Silk Road.

No one knows when cider was first created but it is one of the oldest fermented beverages in the world and it is almost certain that people were enjoying the fermented juice of crushed apples in Roman times, just as they enjoyed the fermented juice of crushed grapes.

2,000 years ago, Greek geographer Strabo wrote about "sidra" in his travels through Europe and the Romans saw cider being made in Britain in 55BC. By the 9th and 10th centuries Northern France and Southern England had become renowned for the volume and quality of their orchards and vineyards. Changes in the climate led to the decline of grape growing in these areas and cider began to replace wine.

 Title page of "Vinetum_Britannicum" by John Worlidge, 1678 ed.

Title page of "Vinetum_Britannicum" by John Worlidge, 1678 ed.

The Normans played a significant role in the historical development of cider making, not only in France but in England following their invasion in 1066. Cider popularity really began to take off in England as new varieties of apple were introduced and production spread. By 1300 cider was being made across most of England and had become such a drink of the people that it was showing up in English tax records.

By the 18th century cider was an integral part of life: farm labourers would have part of their salary paid in cider and every farm would have a few cider apple trees. Typically workers would receive 3 or 4 pints per of cider per day as part of their wages; in some places a farm worker might get 20% of his income paid in cider. In America, early settlers from England brought their cider making and by 1775 one in ten New England farms operated cider mills.

"It's indeed bad to eat apples, it’s better to turn them all into cider."

— Benjamin Franklin

 

To this day, authentic cider is made by a small number of cider makers in England and Wales in the traditional manner. These experts uphold cider's heritage by bringing together freshly squeezed apples and natural yeasts to create the alchemy that is great cider. At Authentic Cider we bring you the best examples of these producers of the finest authentic cider and perry.

 Dabinett is a very high quality English cider variety that provides a bittersweet juice for cider making. Produces a soft, full-bodied, high quality cider.  Picture credit: UK National Fruit Collection. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.

Dabinett is a very high quality English cider variety that provides a bittersweet juice for cider making. Produces a soft, full-bodied, high quality cider.

Picture credit: UK National Fruit Collection. Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.