Figures from Dominion Breweries indicate the New Zealand cider market has grown 315 percent by volume between 2010 and 2014. In all four years the cider category had recorded more than 30 percent growth, though it was coming from a low base compared to wine and beer.
One person looking to take advantage of the surging popularity of cider is Paul Paynter of Paynter’s cider, a six year old cider producer in Hawke’s Bay. His red label cider recently won the 2014 Cider Trophy across five cider classes at the New Zealand Fruit Wine and Cider Making Awards. His philosophy involves cutting edge growing systems, real cider apples and precision New World winemaking techniques.
Paynter is hugely proud of the Hawke’s Bay apple industry and believes the region could become the cider producing capital of New Zealand in the future. He also anticipates that craft cider will follow the path of craft beer, but it may take longer to develop as proper apples take years to get established. As a fifth-generation apple grower he should know. Paynter only made his first cider in 2008 and only entered his first cider competition in 2013. Now, he is the country’s champion cider maker.
Six expert judges considered the entries to the 2014 national Fruit Wine and Cider Making awards which are run by Fruit Wine and Cider Makers New Zealand. The vastly experienced Head judge Malcolm Reeves, a food technologist and winemaker, said the quality of entries this year was amongst the best he had ever seen.