This Can Has A Say
Why we shunned the champers bottle and packaged this year’s Eclosion series in 330ml cans
Eclosion has been an annual cider release from Ascension that sees the best wild fermented cider of the season chosen, blended and released when we think it’s right to do so. Usually this cider is a blend of apples from across the local counties and packaged “as-is”. Ie, dry.
Last year we planned to do something different. Package the blend in 750ml champagne bottles and start our “fine cider” journey. Eclosion was always a cider we looked forward to blending and drinking, so we thought why not join the 750ml club? That’s what we should do right? The campaign for “Cider is Wine” was underway, other producers were packaging in this way, so it seemed like that’s what we had to do. Then I thought back to what Ascension really stood for.
I started this cidery as a way to offer a real, genuine alternative to what I saw spilling out from the massive producers full of sugar, apple juice concentrate and bare minimum apple content. A pint of cider which is 60% water is a lie, a sham and an embarrassment. We wanted to make something different, something approachable and delicious. Showcasing the apples used and allowing the flavour of our ciders to subtly change with every new blending session.
Taking a step back and re-evaluating was important this year. A chance meeting with an apple grower from a local orchard made me rethink what Ascension was going to do this year, and I had the idea to make this years Eclosion release a series of Single Variety ciders. Simply different varieties of locally sourced apples, pressed into a tank and allowed to ferment with the wild yeasts brought with them from their previous home.
The first thought was to package these ciders into 750ml champagne style bottles and push the release as an exclusive small batch run, with only around 220 bottles per cider to be put out into the big wide world. However, upon tasting the Rosette and Scrumptious single variety ciders, I was so impressed that I thought I can’t just have 220 bottles of these. What if we could have 600+ cans? Upon double checking if the canning line on our base at Ringden Farm could fill 330ml cans with still cider, we were given the thumbs up and away we went.
But why cans… Well, a can is approachable, affordable and of the right size for someone who may want to try the cider, but is reluctant to spend over a tenner on a large bottle. We’re going to be offering the cider at a price point that is accessible for everyone and we hope that this will encourage those that have never ventured into this style of cider to try a wild fermented, dry, minimal intervention, natural cider. As our range increases, this smaller size packaging means that there’s a much more accessible way to try each release.
Cans are also great for the cider. The process involves the cider being pumped into sparkling clean, carbon dioxide purged tank, before being pushed out under carbon dioxide pressure into the cans which have been filled with, you guessed it, carbon dioxide. The reason for all this gas usage is to displace as much air from the process as possible, massively reducing the risk of contamination from airborne yeasts and bacteria, and presenting the ciders exactly as we intended it to be served. The twin seamer, which folds the edges of the can and lid to create a perfect seal, meaning that oxygen ingress is impossible, preserving the quality of the cider almost indefinitely.
Still cider in cans isn’t something I have seen much of in the world, if at all to be honest! But I believe it’s a great vessel for these ciders to be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible.
Accessible, affordable and approachable. Cider for the people.