Cider with Penny

October 16, 2012

Finally, some good news!

Bumper crops for Somerset’s tradition cider orchards

Spring frosts and an endless summer washout have left many of Britain’s traditional crops in complete disarray. Bread and potatoes have already risen steeply in price and meat prices will go the same way when the poor grain harvest kicks in.

But there is one little beam of sunlight: traditional cider makers, at least in central Somerset, are reporting bumper crops of apples this year.

“When they were planted traditional orchards were designed to deal with late frosts and plenty of rain is a positive for growing apples,” said Neil Champken of the Somerset Cider Vinegar Company.

“A hundred years ago, growers planned for apples to crop over a period of several months to give themselves time to squash them all. For this reason they chose a fair proportion of late varieties like Black Dabinett, Chisel Jersey, Brown Snout or even Michelin.”

“You have to remember, that with climate-change spring has been arriving earlier and earlier. In many ways traditional cider orchards are purpose built to cope with late April and early May frosts,” he said.

Industrial scale cider producers grow large quantities of just a few apple varieties so that they can all be harvested at the same time and that the concentrated juice (that is made from them) tastes the same throughout the year.

John Harris of Westcroft Cider said: “I have read horror stories in the media about this year’s harvest but we’ve got a bumper crop of fruit. I grow trees on a south side of Brent Knoll (a local hill) which is steep but sheltered. I should think that is why that site was selected in the first place. Many of my trees have been there since before the First War.”

Traditionally, Somerset’s cider orchards were planted on small plots of land that didn’t fit into the farm’s crop rotation for one reason or another. It was normal practice to protect them from the prevailing weather with plantings of native trees.

“Large orchards can’t be protected by wind breaks and they need to be on flat land to allow access to machinery. Also, the trees are planted much further apart to allow picking machines to get in between them. Traditionally trees - cultivated on standard root stocks - were planted much closer together so that they protect each other from frosts,” said Neil Champken.

“Although we have plenty of fruit, much of it is quite small but we still have a couple of weeks before we are picking flat out. All-in-all, we can say that 2013 will be a great year for making cider and cider vinegar in central Somerset,” said John Harris.

June 17, 2009

Which cider you on?

The Metro (London free morning newspaper) ran an article on Tuesday 15 August 2006 by Silvena Rowe narrating cider's rise from a drink solely for new age travellers to the beverage of choice for posh pub patrons.

Ridiculously, though, they interview a city boy who says: "It all started when Magners bought out pints wth ice". Ice! I ask you! It just waters down the taste and lets the landlord get away with not giving you a full pint. I blame Magners for the inexorable rise in the cost of cider over the last three to four years. Ice must be bloody expensive stuff.

To its credit, the article rapidly moves away from In Praise of Magners-type reporting to introduce readers to some of the more unusually named ciders out there - Slack My Girdle and Northern Spy being two of my favourites. I always thought Smack My Bitch Up was a good name for a cider, rather like an apple-based version of Wife Beater.

The variety of ciders in supermarkets is broadening, but sadly you won't find anything much more exotic than the occasional Stowford Press or Westons in most London pubs (although my local, the Cobden in Camden, does have Gaymers on tap - a vastly superior cider to Magners.)


A rival and a friend

... called lightweightmick

Dipping in and out of the news like a straw in a pint of scrumpy

When Gutenberg kindly set this blog up for me, my intentions were two-fold; first, publish my own musings, tasting notes and anecdotes relating to cider; second, track features published about cider in the press to look at how the public perception of the most English of drinks changes - from abhorrence to indulgence to ridicule and so forth.

But not having a computer/time/energy/inclination meant the cuttings all got piled up in a lever arch file and never got posted. But I still have them, and I'd like to share them now. And in the future.

What were you called, my lovely?

It's a tragedy that the drinking of cider makes one forget essential elements of that cider, such as its name. I was in the Coach and Horses, Farringdon, last night and had a flagon of a delicious cider, tried both medium and medium sweet varieties. It was heady but not musty, it had a delightful nose but wasn't overpowering, it was 7.5% and I drank far too much of it. Then fell off my bike on the way home.

I remember, distinctly, talking about Stowford Press and Thatchers Gold, drinks I enjoyed on a recent holiday in Hereford, but they certainly weren't what I was drinking.

Anyway, this post is exacerbating my hangover so I'll sign off.

October 16, 2007

Weingut, ciderbesser

Edited highlights of Aachen for more… read the full version on my other blog.

And so, would I recommend Germany to other cider-loving vegetarians? Rather than simply “getting by” in a carnivorous country, I discovered that Germany has rather a lot to offer, particularly in May when the fields are splashed with strawberries, when the bakeries offer a delicious variety of cakes and breads including my favourite — to eat not to order — sonnenblumenkernbrot, and when the asparagus, or spargel as Germans call it, begins to be harvested. German asparagus is quite unlike ours. It’s white, slightly stringy but soft and with a texture almost more like a fruit than a vegetable. It is often served with just butter or potatoes, and many glasses of wine. The Rhineland produces some of the most exquisite wine I’ve ever tasted, from the raucous Weinstube taverns of Mainz to the gentle Weingut dotted in the fields around Trier.

And Germany harbours a dark, ciderous secret known as Apfelwein or Viez. It’s not on the menu, it arrives in big ceramic tankers, and it’s pronounced feets — possibly because it’s a mean feat to finish a glass, or perhaps just because it smells a bit like well-worn socks. I first discovered it in an al fresco restaurant on the banks of the Rhine in Trier, while eating some freshly caught fish.

Half-way through the tankard, it occurred to me that a) Viez is
stronger than ordinary cider and b) I was sufficiently tipsy to fancy a
trip to a nearby rock festival. Three Viez, five euros and ten minutes
later I arrived at Rock Total, which can only be described as the
Glastonbury festival’s long-lost poverty stricken cousin. Amid the
sticky tables, beer-soaked grass and everso cheery Germans — “Ja,
I want to be a Rock Star! Neine, Ich bin eine Rock Star!” — I was left
pondering gently if Charlemagne ever spilt Viez on his throne.

Fair cider tales

Once upon a time there was a young girl called Rosé. Who was beautiful. And liked to sleep a lot. At her christening, her fairy godmothers floated into the majestic hall where she was laying in a manger*, and conjured up three wonderful gifts for her. The first gift came in a glass. The glass contained a lovely golden liquid, dimpled with delicate bubbles. The first fairy godmother whispered above the sleeping babe, "I give you the gift of cider" and then fluttered off. The second gift came in a can. The can contained a lovely golden liquid, glistening like the eyes of a doleful donkey. The second fairy godmother whispered above the snoring lass, "I give you the gift of cider". And fluttered off. And the third fairy godmother came over and tucked a barrel containing lovely golden liquid, reeking like the innards of a welsh farmer at harvest time, in with the child, and said "never mind the first two presents love. This'll get you pissed in no time".

I am that child. Come and share the gifts of cider cider and cider with me, at my flat.

An apple a year…

… makes the doctor appear. Well, it's probably not that drastic but such is my obsession with getting my five-a-day that I fear it may just happen. I was merrily eating a granny smith when I was struck by the fact that we are SLAP BANG WALLOP in the middle of the apple season and, hence, the cider season — I presume, I'm not a horticulturalist (I'm not haughty full stop) — and so why oh why am I offered granny smiths and pink ladies instead of coxes? I can't really complain as the fruit is a freebie from work but still… I blame the supermarkets. Right, now, just because I have been away from this blog for a long eleven months, it doesn't mean that I haven't been involved in ciderous activities. In fact, it must be about a year since I went to my first cider (well, beer) festival, in Twickenham. I've been collecting umpteen cuttings, from publications as varied as the South West Trains magazine to the Financial Times, on all aspects of cider, following the decline of Magners (well, if you will set a precedent for charging £4.50 for a pint of something that's renowned for being cheap and nasty, that's your lookout) and even had my first cider-related post on a GU blog (although I'll be damned if I can find it again. The Guardian's search engine is a bit rubbish, and I had no idea that the newspaper refers to cider so extensively, albeit often in a derogatory way). But I haven't yet had the time and the inclination occurring in sync to enable me to add this info etc. to the blog. Oh for an online home… There have been two occasions of big cider-related fun this year. The first was the discovery of apfel wein, or viez, in Germany, and I'll post the relevant bit from my article about it below (or rather, above). The second was a cider with Rose (not sure how to do the accent) party, my inaugural party in Putney Towers, and, if I've still got it, I'll publish my daft musings from the invitation here as well. So there you go, 11 months of cider, but hey, we all need time to mature.

November 16, 2006

Under the carpet

I meant to post this a while back but it must have slipped through the net... I think it's a nice indication that it's not just posh marks and sparks types that are drinking copious amounts of cider these days, but frequenters of supermarkets that cater for less discerning tastes as well.

October 31, 2006

Growing down

I have come across a quote from a most unexpected source that conveys the curious social transition that I underwent as a result of my move from Warminster, a small rural town in Wiltshire (one clothes shop, half a hospital, 127 churches, 2263 pubs), to Reading, a yuppie paradise and social climber's dream.

"All eyes turn as we enter, grinning like village idiots, hauling our Strongbow from the poly-bag to offer them round. No takers."

(from Boyracers by Alan Bissett)

Ciderous pubs

... as recommended by the london paper, the new freebie in the capital that does come off on your hands.

Forget Magners, raise a glass to other top tipples
by Ben Macgregor and Philip McNaughton
October has been designated Cider Month by the Campaign for Real Ale, so try a pint of the authentic stuff at these pubs.
The Nag's Head
53 Kinnerton Street, Belgravia, SW1, 020 7235 1135
Tucked away down a quiet mews, serving Aspalls Cider on tap and often a guest cider, the Nag’s is an eccentric little place to enjoy your tipples. Hardly changed in more than 300 years, the two small bars are decorated with a host of curios, from carpet beaters to 3D viewing boxes – and the fact that the bar staff are at a lower level than the customers is most peculiar.
The Dartmouth Arms
35 York Rise, NW5, 020 7485 3267
This likeable boozer, not far from Hampstead Heath, has a commendable commitment to its ciders. Aspalls is a constant option on tap and a fridge behind the bar is the sole realm of bottled ciders, which regularly change – at present there are about eight, including Black Fox, Gwatkin and Ice Age. There is a good range of sports on TV, a mini-library and an interesting array of hosted nights, including comedy and a quiz.
Chimes of Pimlico
26 Churton Street, SW1, 020 7821 7456
A stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, the Chimes of Pimlico is a cider lover’s delight – the wine list is described as predominantly “Wines from the Apple, Pear and Country”. Biddenden’s, Old Rosie and Westons Country Perry are among those available, as are tempting fruit wines and meads. The coup de grâce is Chimes’ mouth-watering own blend, which is available in half-pints or two-pint jugs. This place really does represent a veritable Mecca for cider enthusiasts.
The Pembury Tavern
90 Amherst Road, Hackney, E8, 020 8986 8597
The Pembury has 16 hand pumps and a regularly changing guest cider, currently WM Watkins Rum Cask (at 8.3 per cent, not to be messed with). The recently refurbished pub also has pool and billiards, a host of games, a decent menu (try the ploughman’s lunch) and free wireless internet. Drop by on 17 October for a Camra Cider Month event.
The Greenwich Union
56 Royal Hill, Greenwich, SE10, 020 8692 6258
The Greenwich Union is the only pub of Meantime, the renowned Greenwich microbrewery based in Charlton, southeast London. As well as serving an array of its own beers (chocolate stout, raspberry or blonde), Sheppy’s cider is always available here, as well as a couple of Sheppy’s bottled ciders in the cooler – they aren’t always obvious so don’t be afraid to ask.

Needless to say, when I actually get around to visiting these pubs, I shall let you know. Dear me, I'm feeling a little oscitant. Time for a pint methinks...

September 01, 2006

Why did no-one ask me?

Could a pint of cider help keep the doctor away?

The saying goes that an apple a day keeps the doctor away but now scientists at the University of Glasgow are looking into whether a pint of cider could have the same effect. Researchers have discovered that English cider apples have high levels of phenolics –antioxidants linked to protection against stroke, heart disease and cancer – and are working with volunteers to see whether these health benefits could be passed on to cider drinkers.

In the next few weeks, 12 volunteers will each drink a pint of cider, while avoiding all other dietary sources of antioxidants, to give the research team a unique insight into how phenolics are absorbed and metabolised by humans. The research is part of a project funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the National Association of Cider Makers.

Serena Marks, who is leading the study, explains: "Previous research suggests there may be an association between phenolics and protection against some serious diseases, so we are trying to find out how we get phenolics from our diet. We know that apples are high in phenolics and our research shows that cider apples have a higher phenolic content than dessert apples."

The cider industry has long been interested in phenolics, because these compounds play an important role in the taste and colour of cider, but Marks hopes her research will show that phenolic levels also have a beneficial health role.

So far Marks and her colleagues have looked at the phenolic levels of 19 varieties of English cider apple, 35 varieties of cider and one variety of dessert apple to analyse how and why levels differ and to understand the effects that the cider making process has on the final phenolic content of cider.

They have found that some varieties of apple and some types of cider have higher levels of phenolics than others. Factors that may affect phenolic concentration include the age of the fruit, light exposure, growing region and storage conditions.

Now the scientists have a better understanding of the phenolic content of different apples and cider, the next stage of the research is to analyse how humans absorb these phenolics. To do this, 12 volunteers will drink a 500 ml dose of cider in a controlled environment and samples of their blood and urine will be taken to measure the quantity of phenolics absorbed into the body.

Marks hopes that findings from her work may allow the production methods of cider to be adapted so that the phenolic levels remain high, even after fermentation.

"The more information we can get about phenolics in cider and what happens to them in the body, the more chance we have of positively influencing the phenolic content of English cider, for example, helping manufacturers chose varieties of cider apple which have naturally higher levels of phenolics. This could mean that drinking a glass of cider is not only enjoyable, but a great way for people to naturally increase the amount of phenolics in their diet."

Professor Nigel Brown, Director of Science and Technology at BBSRC, commented: "The UK is a major producer of cider and the popularity of the drink is increasing. This exciting research shows how scientists and industry can work together to improve manufacturing techniques, not just for economic gain, but as in this instance, to bring about potential health benefits for the public too. The relationship between diet and health is a major strategic interest of the BBSRC."

Marks is halfway through her three year study which is funded by an Industrial Co-operative Awards in Science and Engineering (CASE) studentship funded by BBSRC and the National Association of Cider Makers.

UK cider makers invest heavily in cider apple orchards and use about 45 per cent of all apples grown in the UK.
The fermentation of apple juice to produce an alcoholic beverage dates back at least 2000 years and is recorded as a common drink at the time of the Roman invasion of England in 55 BC. Significant commercial production began in the UK in the late 19th Century.

For more information about cider visit the National Association of Cider Makers

August 30, 2006

Five times mortification

I am mortified, thrice plus twice over.

I have a very nasty suspicion that The Fiver, my favourite thing on the web, is casting aspersions on cider, my favourite thing in the world.


Surely, SURELY, they're not talking about this?

July 27, 2006

Store Wars

I have long dreamed of the day when the promotion of organic products would be advanced by the satirical treatment of cult 1980s cinematic moments. I can now die in pieces.

May 10, 2006

In praise of the Guardian

The Guardian's third leader has been given over since their redesign to an "in praise of ..." slot, which is often pretty odd, it not being in journalists' natures to sing the praises of anything.

A sample entry might run:"Mugs: Some swear by the cup, but who can deny the true pleasures of sipping, as many of us do, our tea from a mug? The cup is reserved for special occasions, matched with saucers and sugarbowls, while the mug encapsulates all that is demotic and homely about British teamaking. Was it not Rab Butler who said ... "

But today, all credit to them for choosing cider as being worthy of admiration. Some may sing the praises of beer, but who can deny ... you get the idea.

April 13, 2006


I have made two rather distressing discoveries about myself in the last 48 hours.

Firstly, I have a penchant for country music.

Secondly, I discovered while at the theatre on 11 April that a thimblefull of tepid cider is sometimes enough. Well, it wasn't actually a thimblefull but it certainly wasn't a pint. I was ridiculed for storing a bottle of cider in my coat pocket (ridiculed because apparently this was an uncouth gesture, particularly in such privileged surroundings as the National Theatre). A coat pocket is really only suitable for cider storage when one is forced to leave the pub before one has finished imbibing.

And while we're in no sense on the subject,

Actually, I hav work to do and must dash.

March 28, 2006

The kindness of strangers

This post has nothing to do with cider, other than that I was drinking cider while reading the book in question.

I was at Aldgate East tube station t'other day, and a sweet young Romanian slip of a thing (by which I mean a girl) asked me where the trains were. She then proceeded to point out various places on the tube map that she knew. The conversation went a bit like this:

HER: I was an au pair there (pointing to north London).
ME: Why do you want to be an au pair?
HER: I don't want to be an au pair.
ME: So why are you an au pair?
HER: It says so on my visa.
ME: What would you like to do instead?
HER: I want to go to college and be a cartoonist but you have to be rich to go to college.
ME: I'd be a rubbish cartoonist.
HER: I'm a brilliant cartoonist. Where do you live?
ME: Putney, on the green line.
HER: Why are you here?
ME: Um (blushing), my boyfriend lives near here.
HER: I have three Polish friends.
ME: (mishearing) Three boyfriends? They must keep you busy. I have enough trouble with two.
HER: No, no you are a strange funny person. Three Polish friends.
ME: Oh, that's good. I went to Poland once.
HER: So do you want to be my friend?
ME: Um, I guess.
HER: Good. What's your name?
ME: Penny. (As she types 'Pemy' into her phone) No, P E N N Y.
HER: I am Edina. What music do you like?
ME: Indie. I'm not very cool.
HER: You are not very cool. I like drum 'n' base house.
ME: I'm getting off here.

And there endeth the conversation. So I came into work feeling strangely flattered but baffled, wondering whether I was a stuck up and unfriendly Brit or whether she was an eccentric East European. Both are probably true. Then I had strange daydreams veering off in opposite directions, one in which Edina becomes a bosom chum and ends up as chief bridesmaid at my wedding, and the other in which she becomes obsessed with me and ends up murdering me on the night before my 30th birthday.

And it reminded me of this quote from the aforementioned book, about friends, and what strange creatures they are:

"Lily smiled at her classification of her friends. How different they had seemed to her a few hours ago! Then they had symbolized what she was gaining, now they stood for what she was giving up. That very afternoon they had seemed full of brilliant qualities; now she saw that they were merely dull in a loud way. Under the glitter of their opportunities she saw the poverty of their achievement." (my emphasis)

I'm not sure what, if anything, I'm trying to say by this other than I'm extremely glad that I don't feel towards my friends as Lily does, and that, even if you come across people in unconventional ways, it seems sensible to be grateful when your path crosses that of a friendly stranger.

You're all invited to mine for a party, 6 February 2009. I musn't be on my own...

Working up a thirst

I've never been drunk before work. Not even in the dark days of Underground Focus did I feel the need to make my petit dejuener (sp Gutenberg?) liquid based. Of course, I was often pissed in the afternoons at UF, as myself and Shanghai Bob put the world to right (or rather, to left) over a pint or three and some fish and chips.

But Friday 24 March was a special day for me as I went to see these chaps for the first time. I was misinformed that the venue in question didn't serve cider, so on Friday morning, as I left for work about 9.30am, I made sure that not only did I have the usual trinkets and necessities with me, but also a lovely four-pack of cider.

The strange thing was that as I rode the train into work, I was Very Tempted to crack open a tin, partly because it would have been amusing to see the reaction of my fellow workers to my drunken antics, partly because I think I would be a far more adventurous headline writer if pissed, but mainly because in a Pullman-esque way, I felt myself on the border of two worlds... sobriety, good job, nice flat, fitterhappiermoreproductive and drunkeness, unemployment, nasty home fatterhappierlessproductive.

How long would I survive, mentally, if I had four cans of cider for breakfast every day? How long would it be before I quit my job (or it quitted me) and I melancholically walked the streets of London, with nobody taking me by the hand, dreaming up scripts and novellas that would be forgotten by the next morning?

The longest I've been permanently drunk was, unsurprisingly, when I was at university. It started off with a semi-unsuccessful party on the Friday night (unsuccessful because there too few people, semi because that meant there was more drink to go round). I woke up, with Brother Mike and Drunk Bob, on the Saturday morning with a raging thirst that we decided to quench with ... cider. We were outside the pub by 10.30am and on our second pint by 11.05am.

At about 2.30pm, after a long conversation about the best type of chip, I remembered that I was supposed to be at an audition for a Simon Armitage play, so I returned to college in such a drunken manner that I later discovered grazes on my elbows from where I had bashed into the walls.

The rest of the Saturday and most of the Sunday remain a blur. I think more drinking entailed. Things only became clear again at about 8am on the Monday morning, when Mike and Bob realised they were supposed to be at work in a different city, and I was supposed to have written an essay and learned things and achieved things.

They left at about 8.15am, both with a can of cider in each pocket.

I got the part.

March 13, 2006

Too much value

And there was me thinking I loved all things to do with cider. This is a site that I never want to revisit.

On a happier note, I've (re)discovered that drinking cider (even if it is just Strongbow) dulls the pain of a most unfortunate sporting weekend, especially if you start early, continue the theme through to the wizarding hours, and then go straight to sleep without even attempting to achieve anything else that day.

Now, what was it I was drinking on Friday night? That was a very tasty drink, even if it did seem to contain a anger potion... Or perhaps even one of these.

March 09, 2006

Addlestones really can do everything

While looking to see where Addlestones is made - of which more anon - I discovered, which in hindsight I should have just guessed existed. Like Voltaire's god, if it didn't ...

No time to go deeper into the peculiar theology if Addlestones, nor to fully explore, as I have to leave. I'll be late getting to the pub.

March 08, 2006

Crunch time

When I was tucking into my petit dejeuner this morning, my companion supposed that I might have a hangover. This I vehemently denied, as hangovers are something that happen to poums and lightweights. But as I sit at my desk after a long day at work reading poetry 'imeansubbin', it occurs to me that, yes, I did have a hangover this morning, and it is the absence of a hangover now that proves this to me.

Last night was WILD and CRAZY, in the sense that it only took 19 emails to arrange rather than the customary 243. There was talk of going to the Jerusalem Tavern, which should be a great pub, steeped as it is in history and gently varnished oak, but DUDUDURRRRR, it doesn't serve cider. Ale yes, wine yes, whiskey yes but no cider, despite the quite literally hundreds of recipes there are that combine Jerusalem artichokes and the appley goodness.

So, what's a girl to do? I emailed my pub guru ("Some people can write poetry or play chess. Or public speak. Or play the euphonium. I am good at pubs.") and we ended up at the The Kings, where I once saw this man. The Three Kings does a nice line in Scrumpy Jack on tap and I felt like a princess among men as at least two of my companions tucked into a lovely pinta or two.

Task for tomorrow: start investigating home brewing.

March 06, 2006

To the Core

So the weekend in Oxford started at the Gardeners Arms, Plantation Rd. The place was heaving with neuroscientists creating less work for themselves, and while they tucked into Belgian beer, source of many innuendos because of its method of pouring, I contented myself with three bottles of Westons. I did attempt a framboise, but it didn't taste as good as I remember.

Saturday saw me at The Somerset. This pub, ironically, failed to provide me with any cider other than Strongbow, which is becoming a little like an over-familiar friend. Five pints later and I was willing to forget past grievances. The Somerset did however provide Hex Appeal and an opportunity to surprise all and sundry with my cool pool prowess. I'm reliably informed that a couple of pints at The Duke and bottles each at Qumins and Port Mahon followed, but I couldn't possibly comment.

The best pint of the weekend, if it hadn't been shrouded in the melancholy of departure, was provided by Far From the Madding Crowd, a pub that is, um, off the beaten track. Christened Swanvale Gold, this cider originates from the west country and is not dissimilar to Dry Blackthorn. It has a more oaken taste than DB, however, and is marginally less fizzy. FFTMC also sells Crouch Vale, Oakleaf and Vale real ales, for the boys among you.

Aside from cider, which was obviously the main topic under discussion for the duration of the weekend, we contemplated the following:
... whether four times in two months counts as frequent
... whether there's time enough for friends, work and love
... what the perfect pub contains

We also completed AT LEAST HALF of the Observer crossword, and tittered at pigeons engaging in coprophilia. I think that's the word. I'm giggling too much to check.

Market forces

Aah, the Market Porter, c.1620, winner of the beerintheevening pub of the year last year and hotbed of radical political thought, as this very pub hosted the Underground Focus launch party, back in the Spring of 2005 (which was, incidentally, about two months after the inaugural issue went on sale and, ahem, about three months before the second issue surfaced). Until recently unbeknownst to me, the Market Porter apparently doubles as the Leaky Cauldron.

March 02, 2006

The wrong crowd

Good news to begin with, as the Independent reports that cider is losing its park bench image. This bit, though, is puzzling:

The brewer Scottish & Newcastle stopped offering 50 per cent extra free on big bottles of White Lightning, even though it lost sales, "because we felt that the pricing was encouraging the wrong people into the brand".

Who are the right people to be drinking White Lightning?