I was watching the video below about the BJCP and two interesting questions were asked of BJCP Judge Kyle Klaiber:
Q. Have you ever tasted a beer and think, “this could be a professional beer”?
A. Yeah I have.
Q. Do you think any of those beers have become professional?
A. No, they just don’t have the resources to take it to the next level.
Go to 9:30 to see the clip i’m talking about…
It made me think back to how cider is made and how in my experience, the best ciders that i’ve tried come from small cideries without the use of big machinery, chemical additives or concentrates.
In my opinion it’s almost the opposite of the Commercial Beer Companies. Although technology can help with efficiencies, there is no substitute to skill, quality ingredients, and taking the time to do things right. You can’t cut corners to make great cider. There is no single Commercial Machine you can buy. Every cider is an expression of the cider maker and their unique approach to crafting an artisan product.
In a recent conversation between some my fellow cider-nerds we discussed cider’s future and a concern we had that sub-par ciders could give the industry a bad name or worse that people would be turned off from cider all together. We were worried that people would only get to know the large commercialized, super-sweet, highly carbonated ‘cider’ as cider and not ever try the artisan craft cideries that we were all so collectively proud of.
Eventually, the general consensus was that if crap cider hadn’t killed the industry already, then it will continue to thrive. You can only fool someone for so long. At some point people are going to recognize crap for what it is. I fully believe that we will see with Cider a parallel to what we’ve seen in the craft beer movement. There is much more options out there than what the Big Companies have to offer and at a better quality. And like the craft beer movement when consumers do find out, the cideries that are taking the time to do things right will reap the rewards of loyal customers who appreciate their honest craft.
It’s an exciting time for Cider and I’m happy to be on the sidelines watching this industry grow. I’m a firm believer that quality will always overcome quantity. If you are a cider producer, heed my warning; Make it good, make it honest, and make it with the best ingredients you can and you will ALWAYS make loyal customers.