Runcorn Bridge at sunset


Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

CAMRAs definition of Real Cider and Perry

Tuesday 1 June 2021

The world of cider has evolved so much in the 40 years since CAMRA began to campaign for real cider and perry that it is virtually unrecognisable. The Campaign has therefore sought to clarify a definition of ‘real cider and perry’ that is easy to follow and makes sense across all dispense methods.

CAMRA defines real Cider or Perry as being fermented from the whole juice of fresh pressed apples or pears, without the use of concentrated or chaptalised juices The word ‘chaptalised’ as used in the definition refers to a process, similar in principle to high gravity brewing, where the alcohol level in a cider or perry is increased by the addition of sugar to an unnatural level for storage, before it is diluted with water to the desired alcohol content for sale.

Pointers to best practice Cider and perry are not brewed like beer, but fermented like wine, initially undergoing primary fermentation by yeast, and a further malolactic fermentation by bacteria.

  • A real cider or perry is produced seasonally, in the Autumn, from pure pressed apples or pears. It is made from the whole juice of fresh pressed apples or pears, as concentrated or chaptalised juices reduce the natural aromas and flavours
  • The minimum juice content for an alcoholic drink to be sold as a cider in the UK, as defined by the HMRC, is currently just 35%, including both juice and concentrate. CAMRA is campaigning for a change in the regulations to mirror the much higher juice content expected in wines
  • Best practice encourages and promotes cider and perry with as high juice content as possible and, in particular pure juice cider and perry
  • The best makers will indicate on their labels the provenance of the apples or pears used, stating the varieties, where they were grown, when they were harvested and pressed, and who produced them
  • Where a cider is sweet, the label should indicate whether this was by craft and process, such as stopping fermentation early to retain natural fruit sugars, or by adding juice or sugar, or using an artificial sweetener. Best practice encourages and promotes cider and perry which is fully fermented to dry and unsweetened or where natural sweetness is retained by process
  • Cider or perry fully fermented to dry often finishes virtually uncarbonated, or ‘still’

Where fermentation continues in its final vessel it will produce natural carbonation, the level of fizz or sparkle dependent on remaining active yeast, nutrients, sugars and process. Best practice encourages and promotes cider and perry which is fully fermented to dry or where natural carbonation is created by process.

  • Sulphites are allowed as a preservative but should be kept as low as possible, as they can be picked up on the palate by some individuals. Their presence by law must be declared on the product’s label as an Allergen if above 10ppm
  • Within a balanced cider and perry provision CAMRA encourages and promotes cider and perry which retain yeast with the potential to ferment and in particular live conditioned cider and perry
  • Real cider and perry based fruit and flavoured drinks, categorised as ‘made wines’ by HMRC for tax purposes, use adjuncts that are pure juices or flavourings, never from concentrates, extracts or essences. These fruit or flavoured ciders and perry constitute a separate category or style of cider and perry based drinks within our definition
  • CAMRA recognises that the majority of those will have been diluted back to 4% ABV specifically for duty purposes. We recommend that where possible ‘real cider and perry fruit and flavoured drinks’ at a higher alcohol level should be encouraged and also provided