Real cider is essentially the fermented juice of the apple with nothing added and nothing taken away. At the moment the majority of the cider sold in the UK is mostly made from imported apple concentrate, is full of artificial colourings, sweeteners and preservatives, filtered and pasteurised to render it inert and is kept and served under carbon dioxide pressure. Don't assume that if it is served through a hand pump that it is real cider.
To protect traditional English varieties of cider and perry, the CAMRA set up a sub-group, the Apple and Pear Produce Liason Executive (APPLE). APPLE publish the Good Cider Guide which lists pubs in Britain where real cider and perry are available. APPLE have defined two categories of real cider (and perry), anything which does not fall within these categories is not considered to be real cider (or perry).
A definition agreed by APPLE to denote the very best of cider and perry, with nothing added or taken away.
Category A must:
not be pasteurised before or after fermentation
not be filtered
not receive enzyme treatment
not contain preservatives or colouring
not have the natural yeast replaced by a cultured yeast
not have a nitrogen source added unless essential to start fermentation
not be diluted
only contain sweetners if labelled Medium or Sweet, and then only if they are shown to be safe and do not affect the taste
be produced from only freshly-pressed fruit, and
not contain concentrate
not contain extraneous carbon dioxde
Category A covers the majority of cider makers but only a small proportion of the total amount of cider made. A larger number of real ciders differ in some small respect from Category A ciders but are sufficiently authentic to be designated real cider since the taste and character of the cider is unaffected. These are Category B ciders.
Category B must:
not be entirely made from concentrate
not contain extraneous carbon dioxide
Scrumpy? Scrumpy is a term often used to describe certain types of cider. It is one of those terms for which everyone has a definition and everyone's definition is different. Originally it was cider made from windfalls (scrumps). For most people it means a rough, cloudy and unsophisticated cider. It is most often applied to young cider, ie that which is only a few months old and has yet to undergo the maturation phase (including the malo-lactic fermentation). For other people, including some cider makers, it can mean the finest cider, from selected, better apples, slowly fermented and matured for longer than ordinary ciders.
Perry is identical to cider with the exception that it is made from pears not apples.
Under the definition of "real cider" as prescribed by CAMRA "Pear-Cider" cannot exist. However if a product contains both percentages of "real cider" and "real perry" then under CAMRA's definition that product is called "Pider".