Home' FMCG Business : FMCG NOV 2015 Contents [Q&A]
After travelling to New Zealand nine years
ago, I had an ambition to come back and live
and work here. So I gave it a crack, first living
in Upper Moutere, Nelson where I worked
for craft cidery Peckham’s and also Waimea
Estates winery. This year I hopped across
Cook Strait to make a new start in Wellington.
What were some of your
observations about the New
Zealand cider scene when you
first arrived on our shores?
When I first visited New Zealand, cider
occupied a very small corner of the chiller in
the supermarket and finding a cider down the
pub was nigh on impossible.
Returning two years ago, it was clear New
Zealand had caught on with the global cider
renaissance. Shelf space afforded to cider had
grown massively and a multitude of brands
were present, home grown and imported,
and 500ml bottles had replaced riggers as the
primary packaging format.
However, the category was still quite
immature and dominated by ‘cider with fruit’.
These Scandinavian-style ciders cater largely
towards the younger demographic, with highly
fruity aromas and sweetness. They can veer too
close to the RTD end of the spectrum in my
opinion, and are certainly far removed from
what I would consider to be ‘proper’ cider.
You could see the first glimmers of
products which could be described as ‘craft’,
with a couple of offerings from producers
made in a traditional style with longer
maturation times than mainstream brands.
But with relatively low production volumes,
they were hard to find.
Are we becoming more
Cider with fruit undoubtedly is still the
driving force in the category. Its versatility,
trendiness and mixed-sex appeal gives it a
strong basis. But change is afoot. There are
more apple cider brands on the market,
emphasising use of 100% NZ grown apples.
Gabe Cook, cider maker and cider ambassador.
We’re seeing the foundations of a craft cider
‘scene’ in New Zealand now, with producers in
Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Nelson all producing
ciders that have strong craft credentials: quality
raw materials, long maturation and good
blending. These appeal to the more discerning
consumer, someone who might otherwise opt
for a craft beer or boutique wine.
The average New Zealand customer is still
fairly ignorant about cider however, so there’s
a lot more education to be done. Time, and
exposure to quality offerings will help build
awareness, and I certainly intend to do my part.
Tell us about the New Zealand
cider producers you admire.
I am slightly biased, as they’re a former
employer of mine, but Peckham’s Cider down
in Nelson are making some truly exceptional
offerings. This small operation is based on the
same Moutere Clay soils that produce some of
the finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in NZ,
as well as NZ hop varieties such as Nelson
Sauvin, highly sought after in the wake of the
craft beer revolution.
They grow traditional English style cider
apple varieties that provide more complex
flavours than your average Golden Delicious
by containing high quantities of tannin. The
result: rich, textured and bold ciders.
Zeffer, from Matakana, are the largest craft
producer in NZ and have an array of different
brands catering to different tastes and occasions.
My favourite is the Hopped Up Pippin – a great
infusion of NZ hops added to a tangy cider base.
An up-and-comer on the scene is Auckland
based Forbidden Brewing Co. They recently
won the Cider/Perry category at the New
Zealand Brewers Guild Awards for their
Simply Apple Cider. Keep an eye on them.
What’s your mission as New
Zealand’s official ciderologist?
To educate and inform Kiwis on what cider is.
There are broad spectrums of product types
out there, suiting different consumers on
different occasions. But most crucially, I want
people to know just how good cider can be.
New Zealand is famed for its craft beers and
award-winning wines. There’s no reason why
its cider can’t be held in the same regard and I
want to champion this.
Cider and food pairing – do you
have favourite combos?
Cider is massively unheralded in this area, but it
matches brilliantly with so many different foods.
The classic pairing is cider with cheese. And
there are as many different styles of cider as there
are cheeses, so the combinations are endless.
A salty, blue cheese balances perfectly
with a medium sweet, but fresh, tangy cider;
whereas a deep, rich, vintage cheddar was
made to be cut into big chunks, put on a
piece of crusty bread and swallowed down
with a rich, complex, tannic cider.
Cider and curries rock. The natural acidity
of the cider cuts through the richness of the
curry, cleansing the palate, but also has the
body to complement the robustness.
Which future trends can you see
ahead for cider retailers?
I envisage more imports of cider into the
country, as the consumer seeks to try new
brands. These imports will come largely from
the highly developed UK market, but we’ll see
more Australian brands on the shelves too.
I’d like to see continued growth of a strong
and vibrant craft cider scene. There are so
many talented fruit growers and brewers/
winemakers in the country, that I can foresee
some truly exceptional products being made
in the next few years that will firmly put NZ
on the global cider map.
You can keep up to date with Gabe’s tips, picks, tastings and travels
on www.theciderologist.com .
FMCG BUSINESS - NOVEMBER 2015 65
Links Archive FMCG OCT 2015 FMCG DEC 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page