Cider is a very popular drink in England, due to the presence of so many orchards, mostly in Kent and Herefordshire. Of course, ‘scrumpy’ is also popular in Somerset, the Wurzels even wrote a song about it! Just ensure the brands you choose are vegan. In Yorkshire, Boozy Vegan is an online shop that has curated the best brands of vegan wine, beer, spirits and cider. Order by the case, alongside Boom Kitchen Curry Kits, if booze gives you the munchies! Boycott ciders in plastic packaging as they harm wildlife – if you see any, rip the rings and bin somewhere secure).
Dudda’s Tun (Kent) is a good brand of artisan cider. From fruity to fusion, these are sold in bottles and cans. There’s a core range of 12 ciders, plus artisan extras and gifts. The Fruity Beauties include blackcurrant, cherry and apricot.
- Jurassic Skyline Dorset Nectar Cider is organic and vegan, packed in glass bottles. This light refreshing premium blend has a soft sparkle and is perfect for blue skies and a sunny afternoon. Made from organic apples, grown in a West Country orchard.
- Dunkerton’s Cider is an exceptional organic English cider. It’s organic, vegan and supports wildlife through its orchards, and made in Gloucestershire, with a few apples coming from Herefordshire. It also offers a mulled cider, with warming spices.
- Hogans Cider buys fruits from apple orchards in Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire and their bag-in-a-box cider keeps fresh for 6 weeks, once opened, a great idea if you drink on your own, to avoid waste or over-drinking! A blend of apples, the mini-kegs should be drunk within a few days of being opened. Based in Warwickshire this company uses sugar to sweeten the ciders and a wild cider, a high sobriet low alcohol cider, got anything fruity? Raspberry cider, cherry cider, classic perry and and apple brandy.
- Dorset Nectar Traditional Ciders are made from a blend of around 11 cider apples, all grown on a cider farm in the wilds of West Dorset. In several blends, the fruit ciders include elderflower, damson, ginger (the hunnybubble is not vegan as it contains honey).
- Heron Valley (Devon) make nice award-winning vegan ciders. Sold in cases for home delivery if you can’t find locally in shops, these are perfect for special days and are made in oak barrels to fully ferment, without sulphites or yeasts. With a smooth mellow flavour, the range includes still dry and medium, a sparkling cider.
Vegan Alternatives to Babycham
Babycham is a popular sparkling cider made from pears. It’s very popular in England, and has been enjoyed since the 1950s, with its familiar dancing deer motif. The bad news is that it’s not vegan-friendly, as the maker cannot guarantee that they don’t use fish, egg, milk or gelatine to fine the products.
Instead, choose a vegan brand of pear cider like Samuel Smith Brewery (made in Yorkshire) or Pulp Cider, which makes fruity ciders on a 200-acre family orchard then uses waste pulp to fuel anaerobic digesters to make clean energy (5 ‘drink’ miles!)
Donate Apples, Get Free Cider!
London’s Orchard Project will let you donate apples and pears to spare, then use the windfalls and leftover fruits to make cider, and you get back a share of the profits. Since the project began in 2016, the project has rescued over 32 tonnes of unwanted fruit to turn into apple juice and cider, while training over 1000 volunteers, and giving over £12,000 back to the community.
The vegan cider and apple juice is handmade by local volunteers, using collected culinary and dessert apples, then slowly fermented at the cider house in Walthamstow. It’s matured in small batches to produce a refreshing light cider, with a unique taste (as all apples are different). It’s sold to small shops in London, with each 3kg apple donation producing one 330ml bottle back to you. Apples donated must be without chemical sprays and handpicked or windfalls (small bruising okay).
Also in London, Hawkes Cider is made the same way. This company makes a variety of ciders from donated apples, and the same applies: you get a free bottle of cider for each 3kg donated. Profits are used to help local orchard projects. Search online for apple donation points near you.