South Downs Cider is created from 100% fresh apple juice derived from a mixture of dessert and cooking apples. Dessert apples tend to be lower in malic acid content as compared to cooking apples and as a result are less sharp or tart in flavor. The varieties of apples we use include Brayburn, Gala, Golden Delicious, Jupiter, Red Chief, Worcester, Cox, and Bramley. We even use a few crab aples for tannins. We source our apples from our own orchards including the old Merrydown Cider orchard in Horam (Merrydown Cider is now made in Belgium from apple juice concentrate). We also buy in fruit from local growers and individuals located within 10 miles of Wilmington. We use no finning or clarifying agents and as a result our ciders are vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Cider production in Britain has been around for at least 1000 years. It has been produced in the Mediterranean basin since the first century AD, and became well established in Brittany and Normandy from 800 AD to present. By the time of the Norman Conquest cider was being produced in England with the first documented production in Norfolk in 1205. For many many years cider was produced all over the southern and midland counties where weather conditions favored the growth of apple trees. Over time the bulk of British cider production became centered in a band stretching northward from Devon and Cornwall through Somerset, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, and Herefordshire. Cider became the typical alcoholic drink of the west of England it is believed in part because the climate there was too wet for growing malting barley with success. It has also been postulated that the soil types of the south west of England favored the cultivation of cider type apples over culinary and eating apples whos cultivation tended to be more in the East Midlands, East Anglia, Sussex, Kent, and Hampshire. For this reason two distinct types of ciders have evolved over time in Britain loosely classified as eastern counties and western counties ciders. The pressure for this divergence of types lies in the types of apples grown in the two areas. Traditional "cider" apples grown in the western counties contain more tannins and often less acidity the its eastern counties cousins. Tannins impart more of a astringent and complex flavor to western counties ciders and eastern counties tend to be crisper and more tart in flavor owing to generally higher levels of malic acid in the fruit. Are western counties ciders better than eastern counties ciders???

The beauty is in the eye of the beholder....