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NZ cidery best in class at the Australian Cider Awards

Tuesday 22 October 2013

New Zealand cidery best in class at the Australian Cider Awards

Local Rodney cider producer Zeffer Brewing Co was announced as Best in Class in the Dry Cider Category (class 9) with their Zeffer Dry Apple Cider at the Australian Cider Awards held last Friday evening 18 October in Surry Hills.

The awards attracted more than 160 entries from cider and perry makers from around the globe and these were judged by US cider expert Gary Awdey and Australian connoisseurs Max Allen and Neal Cameron.

“The judges saw a marked step change in quality this year with Australian and New Zealand cider producers taking out some of the top awards in a competition previously dominated by international entrants, the future looks very bright for the cider industry in Australia and New Zealand” said Cameron.

The Best in Class win was a welcome surprise to Zeffer’s chief cider maker and founder Sam Whitmore.

“I always set out to make the best cider I can make but to be acknowledged on a world stage by industry leaders is very exciting,” Whitmore said.

Whitmore, a winemaker by trade, started experimenting with making cider in 2009. He and his partner Hannah Bower founded the cidery less than four years ago and have continued to excel since their humble beginnings selling their cider at the Matakana Farmer’s Markets.

“It was a real learning curve that first year, while cider making is similar to wine making it has its nuances and it was trial and error as we figured these out” Whitmore acknowledges.

“We started out with just 3,000 litres and people responded well to our drier-style and use of fresh New Zealand grown fruit.”

Now crushing over 200 tonnes of fruit and producing more than 200,000 litres of cider, Zeffer’s range of dry apple and pear ciders are enjoyed locally and exported to Australia and the US. This gained them eligibility to enter in to the Australian Cider Awards.

Cider Australia president James Kendell said the awards were growing in stature and importance.

“As a growing number of drinkers across Australia (and New Zealand) embrace cider as an alternative to wine and beer, it is important for Cider Australia to recognise the best of the best,’’ Mr Kendell said.

Mr Kendell said it was exciting to have Mr Awdey, an internationally-acclaimed cider expert and president of the US Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association, join the renowned judging panel.

“The Australian and New Zealand cider sector is enjoying remarkable growth and the awards are a great chance for producers – both small and large – to show off their product to an internationally-acclaimed cider expert in Mr Awdey,’’ Mr Kendell said.

Zeffer Dry Apple also recently won a silver award at the NZ Brewers Guild Association Awards and is also entered in to the Fruit Wine & Cider Makers of NZ Awards which takes place later this year in November.


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