Yep, it’s been a looooong time since the last post but I’m still fighting the good fight. There are some great ciders out there now and some really dedicated brewers. Met a few lovely ones at the Good Food Show last weekend including this dude from The Kent Cider Company. Lovely stuff. Support REAL cider my friends!
I’m not a fan of Magners. Ice? In cider? Are you nuts? A few years ago you’d be sectioned for lobbing a chunk of frozen water in your pint but now – no matter what brand of cider you ask for – the bar staff look at you like some kind of freak if you refuse their request to ram your glass with half an iceberg. The iceification of cider isn’t all I dislike about Magners though. It’s just a pretty sickly artificial imitation of cider sold at a huge premium to people who aren’t given much choice in the nation’s pubs and clubs. This market intimidation reached a pretty vile conclusion this weekend at The Cornbury Festival (hence this blog). I’d noticed a small stand (Benson’s) selling local apple juice and ‘proper’ cider on the first day of the festival. Very nice it was too. £3.00 a pint and clearly made just from apples. Yum. I had a couple of pints during the Saturday then returned later in the day for another to be told that the Magners people had forced the festival organisers to shut them down. It appears that Magners had signed some kind of exclusivity deal on cider and saw a tiny fraction of their potential profit going to someone else. Now, I’m not a hippy. I (sadly) know all about the commercial realities of the world. But this was a real case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Whilst Bensons were selling cider to a few of us, many people preferred the alchopop taste of Magners. That’s their choice. Good luck to them. At £3.70 for a very small bottle (I’m guessing less than half a pint) they need all the luck in the world. I happen to prefer a more natural taste. Clearly the folk at Magners would like to eliminate personal choice and force their sugary muck down our throats, wiping out independent producers and putting local people out of work in the process. This stinks. I’m sure the festival organisers had their hands tied (I’m guessing the money from the exclusivity deal paid for some of those loos) but I’d rather put up with a bit of other people’s shit than a whole load of the corporate variety.
If you drink Magners I urge you to try something else…anything else…preferably proper cider from a local producer. On the more mass market front Westons do some really good stuff (Old Rosie is awesome), Scrumpy Jack ain’t bad, I’ll drink Strongbow and Blackthorn in an emergency too.