You hear the word “Craft” used to describe cider, beer and wine. Unfortunately the word is somewhat overused, and in my opinion abused.
In a strict sense, a “Craft” is a pastime or profession requiring some kind of skilled work. Many beer, wine and cider organizations attempt to define "Craft". The end results are all over the map and most certainly driven by larger producers who favour a more lenient definition.
The word "Cider" is used to describe a category of beverages made from apple and other fruit flavours. Mass produced cider is often made from water, sugar, concentrates, malic acid and flavouring agents. A true "Craft Cider" is Orchard-Based.
I think it is also worth mentioning that from a purist standpoint, if it’s made out of fermented apples, it’s "cider", if it’s made with artificial flavours, fruit juice concentrate or anything else, it is not "cider".
So what do I consider “Craft Cider”? Here is a partial list of the things I look for.
1) Orchard/farm based.
2) Small scale independent producers.
3) Estate cider - grown, produced and bottled by the cidery.
4) Natural colours, flavours & aromas.
5) Cider made from 100% local fruit.
6) Products that are hand bottled, labeled and packaged.
So what don't I consider a “Craft Cider"? Again Here is a partial list of the things I look for.
1) Mass production.
2) Ciders that are manipulated by food science to be consistent batch after batch.
3) Cider made from concentrate.
4) Ciders made with imported fruit.
There are currently a number of beverages being marketed to consumers as “Craft Cider” that do not meet my definition. I set my standards higher than most and only write about ciders that are, in my opinion, truly "Craft" in nature.
If you are a producer and would like me review your products, please let me know. http://saltspringcider.ca/send-us-your-samples