Cider lat­est fire vic­tim

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - AMINA McCAULEY

THE sum­mer bush­fires have left Tas­ma­nia’s cherry cider tast­ing “like an ash­tray”.

Pa­gan Cider is now des­per­ately look­ing for al­ter­nate ways to use $1 mil­lion worth of juice — and have had to can­cel in­ter­na­tional or­ders.

Co-owner Harry Moses said: “We were press­ing [the cher­ries] while the fires and the smoke were at their worst. If you pour the juice you ba­si­cally got an ash­tray.”

PA­GAN Cider may have to dump 36,0000 litres of cherry har­vest worth $1 mil­lion af­ter it was tainted by sum­mer bush­fires.

The Huon Val­ley busi­ness has had to call off a ship­ment to new cus­tomers in Hong Kong so it can sup­ply lo­cal and long­stand­ing clients.

Pa­gan Cider co-owner

The fer­mented one made it pretty ob­vi­ous, if you pour the juice you ba­si­cally got an ash­tray — HARRY MOSES

Harry Moses said they were un­aware when har­vest­ing dur­ing sum­mer that smoke from bush­fires in the area would so strongly im­pact the taste of the fer­mented cher­ries.

“We were press­ing [the cher­ries] while the fires and the smoke were at their worst,” he said.

“The only way to find out [if they were tainted] was to send the juice to the lab in Ho­bart and to fer­ment it. The fer­mented one made it pretty ob­vi­ous, if you pour the juice you ba­si­cally got an ash­tray.”

The busi­ness is look­ing into al­ter­na­tive ways to use the juice.

Mr Moses said any health im­pacts would need to be in­ves­ti­gated.

“So now the fo­cus is what we can do with this prod­uct between now and the next cherry sea­son and then we’ll have to make the de­ci­sion whether or not to dump it,” he said.

Sim­ple Cider, a cidery based at Franklin, said 30 per cent of its cher­ries used for stock was also tainted by the smoke.

But co-owner Pa­trick Meagher said be­cause of its smaller size the busi­ness wasn’t as im­pacted by the bush­fires.

“We were able to find some al­ter­nate sup­pli­ers to help us get across the line,” Mr Meagher said.

“It ended up be­ing OK for us. I think in part be­cause we’re a lot smaller than Pa­gan.”

Pa­gan Cider has in re­cent years been sell­ing much of its prod­uct over­seas, mainly to Sin­ga­pore, Thai­land and Tai­wan. [email protected]

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