Somerset redstreak

More than one bad apple: the sorry demise of English cider

Can you imagine if, in the 20th century, wine producers in France had switched from a product made (almost) entirely from grapes to something that was essentially grape-flavoured alcoholic sugar water? It’s inconceivable. In fact, they did just the opposite. To stamp out the growth of ersatz wines, the appellation contrôlée system was created, which, for all its faults, provides a guarantee that a particular wine will be made from grapes from a certain area. But there was no such regulation in England. After the second world war, large-scale cider-makers in the West Country began lowering the amount of fruit in their products, specifically characterful bittersweet cider apples, and making