Is Cider the Low Alcohol Wine?

Recent stories in the media have shown a large movement towards lower Alcohol By Volume %(ABV) Preferences . Producers both old and new are showcasing to products which highlight their low alcohol credentials, be they alcohol free or lower than other choices. I, myself have even found myself enjoying zero alcohol beer ( I wont say which one), particularly after a hot cycle home as a refreshing way of cooling down before getting ready for the evening. Often, within Pilango Cider Vault, customers are asking us about how much alcohol is within our selection of Ciders. The responses can certainly vary. Some consumers when told a customers are told a product contains say 6% seem surprised and wish to know why it is so strong. Others when shown the same product ( particularly after having tasting it ) seem quite surprised by how low it is. So whats the difference? My guess is that the former group of customers are making a comparison to beer, the latter with wine. So who’s view should we consider to be the case. Lets look at a few fermentation facts; 



  • The Strength of a Cider ( or any non distilled alcoholic drink for that matter) is governed by the amount of sugar in the juice or liquid prior to fermentation which is converted by yeasts into alcohol and carbon dioxide

  • This is typically around 5-8.5% ABV (unlike wine which will be around 11-15%). Beer ( which isn’t made from a juice, but a tea like base from water, malt and barley) will come out say between 3.5-6%

  • Cider can be sweetened by adding juice (Back sweetening) which will lower ABV to 4-5% ABV




With this in mind we would encourage consumers to try to consider Cider as a wine with a low ABV, not a beer with a high ABV, as the comparisons are far more justified. Both are a fermented fruit juice. Beer is essentially a fermented tea, as its main ingredient ( 95%) is water. With this in mind and our ability to match a Cider to a wine ( or a beer) with a similar flavor profile, and to most foods , Cider can be a great choice. How about something which will have a flavor profile to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to go with that Thai take Away (5% ABV)? Hello Cornish Orchards Gold! Champagne like flavours for a celebration weekend lunch, but need to prepare for the busy week ahead when you get home (8.4%)? Did somebody say Gospel Green? I could really do with something big and rich, like a red wine to go with that Steak . Lamyatt Village’s very own Bullbeggar can do that for you at 6.5%.


So next time you are looking for something with a low ABV . Rethink your drink. #Rethinkcider . Try not to look at it as strong beer, as the comparisons between a craft Cider ( i.e. one made from juice not from concentrate) may not be fair, look at it as a low ABV wine.

If you are looking for a low alcohol alternative to wine, try popping your favourite wine into our search tool by clicking here . That or pop your food choice in and see what recommendations come up!