Firstly i think it’s worth saying that natural cider is nothing new. if you’re fortunate enough to live in one of the world’s traditional cidermaking regions then you’ve probably been enjoying it for years without even knowing it. lucky you.
Pretty much all cider used to be natural cider so we didn’t need a special name for it. it was only with the increased industrialization of the 1970’s that a divide really began to appear with the larger scale makers opting for increased consistency, stability and profitability. some would argue that in doing so they’ve lost some of what makes cider such an amazing, seasonal, regional and exciting drink.
Natural cider is sometimes referred to as being craft, real or low intervention which is really just to say that the maker is stepping back a bit, leaving the chemistry set firmly shut and letting nature take it’s course. Typically these ciders will be made from 100% freshly pressed apple juice with no other ingredients added at any stage. no water, no sugar, no sulphites etc. the only real job left for the natural cider maker is to source the fruit, keep an eye on the juice while it ferments then decide on what to blend and when to bottle.
We’re of the opinion that the most interesting ciders have a strong link to where they’re made, in wine this would be called terroir. We want our ciders to be as Highland as possible, which means using local fruit and leaving the juice to ferment naturally (relying purely on native wild yeasts found on the apples themselves) with no temperature control or any additives of any kind. Then we just wait for the right moment to blend or bottle the cider.