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  • Writer's pictureAnnemarie Bolduc

Craft Ciders

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

In apple-growing regions, the end of autumn means time to crack some craft ciders!

Cider hour • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2022

Do we say apple cider or just cider? Depending on what country you live in, the term can differ. In Australia, the fermented alcoholic drink, or the unfiltered and unsweetened non-alcoholic beverage, can both be called cider or apple cider. In the U.S. they call the alcoholic one a "hard cider". In Canada, cider is alcoholic and apple cider non-alcoholic, and Québec uses other French terms. But anyway, whatever, they are all made from apple juice and are so delicious and refreshing. Sweet, dry, bubbly, fruity, rosé (pink), cloudy, there are varieties for all tastes. In Québec, the artisanal production of ciders has a long history that began with the first French settlers. After prohibition and the "cider dark age", craft cider culture was revived and many types of cider were innovated, like ice cider, pressed with naturally frozen apples. Like the late harvest ice wine, the final result after fermentation is a sweet liquor, higher in alcohol percentage than the regular ciders. In Australia, ice ciders are also crafted by freezing concentrated pressed apple juice. Cool climate regions are ideal for growing apples and Batlow is famous for its orchards, ciders and snowy mountain view. Discover the local apple growers and ciders maker offering different styles and a cellar door near Batlow.

Batlow Road Ciders • Photography and label design © Bottle and Brush Studio 2019


Batlow Road Ciders were produced by Ralph and Judy at Wilgro Orchards, one of the two main apple road stalls on Batlow Road. They developed varieties of ciders that include apple, hopped, quince, cherry and ice cider. They were all processed traditionally with 100% pure juice and are totally natural without any preservatives, additives or carbonation. They have now retired and the orchard, cidery and road stall are now home of The Apple Thief.

The Apple Thief Ciders • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2022


The well-known Apple Thief Ciders were created by Dave Purcell who lived 10 years in the Southern Highlands before returning home, in Batlow. Dave and Mel have taken over the former Wilgro Orchards on Batlow Road where the next chapter in The Apple Thief story is taking. The cidery's Cider House is temporarily selling products, coffee and delicious meals at the old farm shop as big plans are underway... visit and follow them for all updates!

Crafty Ciders • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2020


Crafty Ciders is a small boutique cidery, sharing home with SMART Animal Sanctuary. You can meet lovely creatures when visiting the cellar door, even a camel! Tony and Lorene did very well moving near Batlow, after passing by as fruit pickers and years later managing an apple orchard and raising a family. If you love a quality English style sweet, dry, ice, ginger or non-alcoholic apple cider, you gotta find a Crafty. And that is not too hard in the Snowys as they are now also available in pubs, restaurants and various little shops of the region. And of course, at Batlow Ciderfest!

Batlow Ciderfest • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021


Batlow is a little quiet town in the mountains, but once a year, in May, the main street turns into a colourful street fest. You can taste the best local and national boutique ciders (and local brews and wines) while enjoying it all with food, music, markets and entertainment. Ciderfest was founded by the legendary Harald Tietze over 10 years ago, to celebrate the end of the apple season. Here is a little documentary my husband made a few years ago. It really captures the vibe of the event. But I just can't stop laughing when this French Canadian girl is caught speaking (yep that's me)...!

Ciderfest: Behind the Scenes • by John Riddell 2017


Ciders are made with different types of apples. The heritage styles use cider apple cultivars and the modern styles use table apples. Speciality styles are also made with other fruits, hops, ginger or spices. Ciders are best served chilled but can also be hot and mulled. Ciders are well paired with many types of dishes, appetisers, nuts and cheeses. Ice cider is a dessert liquor, that pairs well with strong-tasting cheeses, foie gras and ice cream. Ciders can also be used as an ingredient for slow-cooking pork like this Cider Pulled Pork developed with the Bittersweet of Crafty Ciders. Apple cider vinegar is a must in the kitchen with many health benefits and also keeps your chicken flock healthy by pouring a drop in their water regularly. Non-alcoholic, cloudy, fruity, bittersweet, dry and iced, there is a cider to everyone's taste!

Cracking apple ciders and hazelnuts • Photography © Bottle and Brush Studio 2021

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