A few short years ago, a mention of traditional “scrumpy” cider would have conjured up a Somerset scene featuring thatched roofs, straw hats and the sounds of The Wurzel’s 1976 hit “I am a cider drinker”.
The suggestion that urban residents of the north’s largest city would be flocking to a smart hotel to sample a massive range of ciders and perries would have been laughed at.
However times have changed and that is just what will be happening when the first Manchester Cider & Perry Festival opens it’s doors on Friday 23rd June.
Since it’s formation 40 years ago, CAMRA has had great success in re-establishing traditional cask beer in pubs across the country. In recent years, CAMRA recognised that real cider and perry in a similar situation to that which faced real ale in the early 70s, with the number of outlets for real cider diminishing.
CAMRA now has an active cider section that has seen traditional still ciders and perries become a regular addition to cask conditioned beers at beerand cider festivals across the region and beyond.
With cider drinkers increasingly rejecting mass marketed artificial gassy ciders for the traditional form of the drink, more and more pubs and bars across Greater Manchester are offering their customers the traditional form.
It is this popularity that convinced organisers that the city was ready to host it’s own festival dedicated entirely to cider and perry.
Festival organiser Steven Swain said “Cider festivals are common place in the cider producing South West and East Anglia, but we believe this is the first time a dedicated cider festival has been held outside of these areas.” Steven added “We think it’s great – it’s about time drinkers in the north got to sample the amazing variety of styles and tastes that exist with real cider and perry”.
The festival is being organised by Greater Manchester Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) and held in the heart of the city at The Palace Hotel on Oxford Street. Open all day on Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th June, there will be 53 traditionally made ciders & perries available with around 40 at any one time. Entrance to the festival is £2 a day.
More information on the festival see www.manchesterciderfestival.co.uk