As 2021 has ended, it’s a good time to look back on the Polish craft cider scene and to look forward to 2022. The year 2021 in Poland was marked by a pandemic, but it doesn’t mean we had stagnation in the world of cider. A lot happened and we can see signs of recovery. Have a look at our 2021 recap – part 1.
We had a very successful cider release by Cydrownia Zywer – a cider mill founded by Tomasz Zywer in the Podkarpackie area (south-east Poland).
In the summertime, two new cider appeared: dry Brus 2020 and slightly lighter Foszt 2020. Both made from an old apple varieties such as Grochówka, Reneta, Boskoop, Bancroft. It is worth mentioning that cider Brus was awarded in the SISGA competition in Spain.
A lot of work was done by Maciej Włodarczyk, the owner and head cider maker in Eko Farma in Szczyrzyc. His Cider Frys (dry, medium-dry and sweet cider) will be released in summer 2022. Maciej’s ciders are organic and made on-farm with minimal intervention. Eko Farma is preparing now for its official debut.
The most spectacular success was an award for cider mill Cydr Chyliczki. International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) awarded Gold for Lodowa Beczka (ice cider), Silver for Kronselka (single variety) and Brown for Czarny Sad (flavoured cider). The success was even mentioned by Forbes (!).
Lodowa Beczka is made of Rubin apple variety, by the method of very slow fermentation (for 12 months) and then matured in Hungarian oak barrels for 24 months. Incredibly concentrated, with notes of baked and dried apples, raisins, honey, and vanilla aromas.
SISGA Asturies (Spain)
SISGA is an annual cider competition that takes place in the northern Spanish province of Asturies. We went to Asturies in 2019 to take part in meetings, tasting and the competition itself (Rita was a judge). You can read more here.
This year a total of 73 cider mills with more than 230 ciders from countries such as the United States, France, Portugal, Germany, Chile, the Czech Republic, and Norway, participated among others.
Poland won two awards:
Category: Dry still cider – a Bronze for Henryk Nowakowski and his Cydr Rubinowy
Category: Brut sparkling cider – a Gold for Tomasz Zywer and his cider Brus 2020
Pomona Cider Competition
Pomona Cider Competition is dedicated to amateur cidermakers who still learn how to make craft cider. Since 2017 every year a panel of judges chooses the best ciders made at home. More about the 2021 edition you can read here.
After easing pandemic restrictions in summer, many tourists began to look for more opportunities to visit local farms, cider mills or restaurants. The producers opened the doors and invited people to wander around the orchard and have a picnic. Cider Ignaców was the first producer who opened its doors in 2019 – the small event attracted a handful of the most loyal fans, but in July 2021 the attendance record was broken. The event had a much more extensive character – commented tasting sessions and food pairing provided by Restauracja Źródło.
Cydrowia przy Sadzie, run by Iwona Rybacka, also organized some picnics and now she runs dancing, creative writing and yoga sessions in the orchard.
Polish Craft Ciders Conference was brought back to life by Przemek Iwanek, who organized its first edition in 2019. After a pandemic broke, the conference was run online but its third edition in October took place in the city of Poznań thanks to a new partner – SPOT restaurant. Cider tastings, talks and food pairing attracted many attendees who had an opportunity to try craft ciders along with the meal.
It is worth mentioning Jabłonki (The Apple Trees), a new marketing project run by the State of Poland Foundation to promote Polish apples. It aims to raise awareness about Polish apples amongst Poles. An annual festival of Jabłonki with music performances, food and art exhibitions set off in September 2020.
As you can see, a lot was happening during 2021. But more to come!