Tasmanian cider producer Willie Smith’s has created a new cider using old-school crafting techniques.
The limited-release Traditional Cider Apple Blend features rare heritage cider apple varieties, which Willie Smith’s co-owner Sam Reid said the new cider is giving life to these often neglected apples and in-turn has potential to increase employment and skill development opportunities in the Huon Valley.
“Some trees in the William Smith and Son’s orchard are unused and had no future. With demand for specific cider apples we have been able to repurpose them by grafting heritage varieties onto them to ensure long-term sustainability of the orchard and the dozens of jobs that go with that,” Reid said.
“We have also planted new trees which require more management and different techniques and so we are growing the number of jobs and broadening the skill set required for the orcharding industry.”
The Traditional Blend will initially only be available in limited quantities, but Reid said it will become part of the core range in the long-term as supply of specialty cider apples increases.
“We just need a few more seasons of planting and grafting cider apples to achieve that,” he added.
Willie Smith’s cider maker Tim Jones said the cider had been crafted using traditional cider making techniques, but that it has a nod to the future for the company.
“In the same way that traditional French cider is made, we let our heirloom cider apples, which have very high tannins, oxidise before pressing,” Dr Jones explained.
“This produces a deeply golden juice and alters the flavour and texture of the final blended cider.
“Careful blending with culinary apples has created a softly structured and aromatic unfiltered cider that introduces the traditional cider apple influence in a balanced way to a broader market.”
Reid added: “A lot of cider drinkers would never have had the opportunity to taste real cider from real cider apples so we are very excited to take cider apples to the mainstream market.”
Reid also said by using cider apples the Traditional Blend can compete with ciders from the UK and France and has the potential to open up export markets across the globe.