Last Sunday we took part in the second edition of Craft Cidermakers Conference. The event was held online due to Covid-19 restrictions. Over 40 participants watched live talks with professionals.
The conference covered many interesting topics. We had discussions on local products, tourism, marketing, sommeliers and their role in restaurants, apples varieties and orchards, law related to cider advertising, and cider mill with restaurant concept. There was also a bonus interview with Bill Bradshaw translated into Polish by us 🙂
So here is a quick recap of the main issues.
Since two years we can see in Poland an increasing interest in local food and drinks. Craft cider, cheese, wine, charcuterie, and so on.
Now, when some of us are at home due to the virus, we tend to buy more local, from people we know and trust.
Polish cidermakers can follow winemakers’ example. A decade ago no one heard about Polish wines. It was some kind of fantasy. Now we have over 300 vineyards in Poland. So the same is with cider. We are just at the beginning of transforming the market. Cider is becoming popular but still, there is a lot of misunderstanding. That’s why we need to educate consumers. Makers, sommeliers, bloggers, media should talk a lot about the cider. We can see clients who can drive a long way to the cider mill to buy just craft ciders. They don’t care about the price because they know the product is excellent and worth paying more.
Promotion of craft cider is tricky in Poland. Basically, you cannot advertise alcohol in Poland and even sell it online (more here and here). So we need to find a way to engage somehow more people in promoting good products. They can be sommeliers, chefs, restaurateurs, influencers, but also food and drinks festivals, cider tastings, open days, etc.
Enotourism is the other way to promote Polish ciders. More vineyards organize open days, the same is with cider mills. Producers are happy to welcome guests and share their products. Due to pandemic, many people didn’t go on holidays abroad, they chose to visit local producers, go to the village and try local food. So we have to take an advantage of the situation and encourage more people to visit cider mills.
When talking about quality we have to mention about ingredients 🙂 Poland has the biggest orchard area in Europe. We mainly produce dessert apples which are not good for cider. However, there are some very old varieties which seem to be perfect for ciders! We also have nurseries that sell cider varieties tress like Dabinett, Kingstone Black or Yarlington Mill. Cidermakers start to blend them with our dessert apples. We have to wait a little bit and learn how to use these varieties.
To sum up, Polish craft cider industry is growing, there is more awareness and we need to keep on with good work to get it going. International awards, loyal consumers and high quality of ciders are an evidence that we did our homework.
The conference was organized by Przemek Iwanek, with support of Radosław Froń from Prawo Alkoholowe blog. Media coverage by Winnicjatywa/Ferement (wine website and magazine) and food magazine Gourmet. The guests list included: Maciej Nowicki from Winicjatywa, Jurek Gibadło, Kamila Jankowska, Kamila Dzierżawska, and Michał & Agata Ponikowski.
And here are the bonus interview with Bill Bradshaw: