Gold medal first for Gisborne cidery

New World Beer and Cider Awards smile on local Scrumpy.

GOLDEN HARVEST: Gisborne’s Harvest Cidery has won plenty of awards in the past but in a first for general manager Hamish Jackson the cidery was awarded gold at the 2017 New World Beer and Cider Awards. Picture by Paul Rickard

BRAEBURN and Granny Smith apple-fuelled Scrumpy has for the first time won Gisborne’s Harvest Cidery a gold medal in the New World Beer and Cider Awards.

Along with the gold, Harvest Cidery brought home bronzes for its apple cider, Scrumpy with ginger, Scrumpy with lemon, and its Thomas and Rose strawberry and lime cider.

“We have entered the New World Beer and Cider Awards before and have done well, but this is the first time we have taken out gold,” said Harvest Cidery general manager Hamish Jackson.

Mr Jackson is also chairman of the New Zealand Fruit Wine and Cider Association.

Harvest’s apple-based, gluten-free Scrumpy is made from the same recipe cidery founders Brian and Irene Shanks developed from 1989. The couple brewed their first Scrumpy in 1991.

Cider is a lot more refined than cider products people encountered in the 1970s, Mr Jackson said.

“Harvest led the resurgence of cider in New Zealand but made it commercially viable and more refined. It is a high quality product. Our cider and scrumpy is a little cult classic. With little marketing it stands on its own two feet.”

The company uses Braeburn and Granny Smith apples rather than apples traditionally used for brewing cider.

Its latest gold medal comes almost 29 years after the extreme event that helped launch Harvest Cider.

After Cyclone Bola devastasted the East Coast in 1988, the Apple and Pear Board did not take the Shanks apples out of Gisborne so the couple experimented with the fruit, Mr Jackson said.

“They made 5000 litres of cider in the first year. That took more than a year to sell.

“Now we make 19,000 litres of Scrumpy a day for the New Zealand market alone.

“There were a lot of good cider-makers in the awards so we did pretty well.

“There are no secret ingredients in our product. Just a lot of love from the people who make it.”

More than 500 beers and ciders were entered by 81 local and international breweries.

The entries were blind-judged by a panel of 19 independent experts who used a collaborative method based on technical excellence, balance, mouth-feel and drinkability.

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