A taste for a good cider

Havelock North Village Press - - News - By SAHIBAN HYDE

A lo­cal cider ex­pert has sniffed, swirled and sipped his way through the high-end qual­ity of cider and beer ex­hib­ited at the New World Beer and Cider Awards.

Jody Scott, a first-time judge at the awards, on March 13 and 14, and the head cider maker at Zef­fer Cider Co, Hast­ings said there were a record num­ber of qual­ity en­tries for the awards.

All en­tries vied for a spot in the awards’ Top 30, with the win­ning beers and ciders tak­ing pride of place on New World shelves na­tion­wide.

“This year was a record en­try of 645 brews from 102 dif­fer­ent brew­ers across NZ in­clud­ing some in­ter­na­tional en­tries as well.

“The gen­eral con­sen­sus was that stan­dard was up on pre­vi­ous years. We were pretty ex­cited about the qual­ity.”

With a range of dif­fer­ent beer and cider styles the judg­ing cri­te­ria came down to one main fac­tor, he said.

“There are lots of as­pects to judg­ing a beer or cider that in­clude judg­ing the ap­pear­ance, aroma and taste of the drink.

“But when it comes down to it the most im­por­tant thing is to con­sider drink­a­bil­ity.

“It is well and good hav­ing a tasty beer but if you couldn’t fin­ish a pint of it then it isn’t some­thing peo­ple re­ally want to buy.”

The judg­ing was bro­ken down into mul­ti­ple ta­bles so each beer and cider could be judged fairly, he said.

“There are 24 judges at the awards along with eight trainee judges whose scores don’t count. It en­sures none of the judges are judg­ing some­thing they pro­duced.”

In spite of be­ing a judge at the awards Scott couldn’t pick a favourite.

“We don’t get to know what we tasted as all the judg­ing is ‘blind’ — you don’t know which beer or cider is in the glass — so I’ll have to wait un­til the re­sults come out later in the year with ev­ery­one else.”

Scott has more than 12 years ex­pe­ri­ence in the wine and ci­der­mak­ing in­dus­try and a first-class hon­ours de­gree in wine­mak­ing.

With ex­pe­ri­ence through­out Europe, the United States, Aus­tralia and New Zealand, he now heads Zef­fer’s ci­der­mak­ing team and has led them to a num­ber of pres­ti­gious cider awards.

He has also been a beer, wine, cider and spir­its judge at in­ter­na­tional and lo­cal com­pe­ti­tions.

He of­fers some ad­vice to bud­ding cider and beer brew­ers.

“If they want to get into the in­dus­try they should head along to the mul­ti­ple beer and cider fes­ti­vals to meet the peo­ple who make the beers and ciders they like. It’s a very wel­com­ing com­mu­nity and peo­ple love to share their pas­sion and knowl­edge. Be re­al­is­tic as it’s a tough job with some long hours, but it’s very re­ward­ing.”


Left to right: Zef­fer Cider CFO, COO Greg Small, head cider maker Jody Scott, founder/cider maker Sam Whit­more en­joy a cold bot­tle of cider.

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