Meet Cath Potter, accredited Pommelier and Cider Advocate.
When Malus Magazine asked me to write a feature about Britain’s Cider Women I sent the same questions to several of the UK’s leading orchardists, cider makers, advocates, and retailers. With limited space in the magazine I was unable to include all their responses but did not want to waste their fascinating comments, so I have posted them individually on this blog. I cast the interviewees in an imaginary film called ‘Sisterhood of Cider, The Movie’ and I asked them not to be modest in their answers because I was ‘bigging’ them up for feature. Please meet The Evangelist.
What is your role in cider?
Founder member Manchester Cider Club.
Member of the steering committee of Cider Women.
Chair of local Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) branch. CAMRA also lobbies for real cider and perry.
What does your work entail?
Not really work! Mainly promoting and publicising cider and the cider club in Manchester, supporting cider into the city
For Cider Women promoting and working for equality and diversity within the cider community. Promoting women in all areas of the cider community and the idea that cider is for everyone, in making, selling and of course drinking.
What is your favourite aspect of your work?
Working to enhance diversity and building a network of cider women who can support each other and encourage more input into the cider world from underrepresented groups (including but not limited to women)
Describe cider to a person who is unaware of it.
Cider is an incredibly varied drink, there is a cider for everyone and only by tasting and experiencing can you find yours!
What does cider mean to you?
Mainly a delicious drink! Definitely for sharing so it enhances sociability in drinking, particularly in the pub!
It is important in protection of the environment with preservation of orchards both rurally and in the cities with the rise of urban orchards and cideries.
Why should a person drink cider?
Because they enjoy it! Also, if they are interested in the provenance of what they are drinking
If you were to be nominated for an award for your ceaseless work for cider why should you win it?
My main contribution has been to build groups of people who can take cider forward. When I gained my Pommelier qualification I was one of only two in the North of Britain. Since then, quite a number of people have qualified. The group that set up Manchester cider club has continued to work in various ways to promote cider.
Cider women goes from strength to strength and grows each year.
CAMRA branch is beginning to take cider more seriously and I was involved in writing the new definition nationally.
Why did you choose cider and not wine or beer?
I am a compound drinker (ha) and enjoy beer as well as cider and promote excellence and diversity in both worlds! I have made it a project to study cider in order to know as much as possible and promote it more effectively as there are plenty of people already doing that for beer.
If you have a favourite apple what is it and why?
Foxwhelp of course! This apple makes the most delicious cider with the best hit of acidity ever!
Do you think the UK’s cider sector is in a better position than it was before you started working in it, and if so how?
Somewhat. There is a buzz around #NotFromConcentrate ciders and in Manchester we now have several pubs that take pride in their cider offering. There has been a growth in cider clubs since Ross Cider Club inspired us to set up Manchester Cider Club which is lovely to see. Also quality bottled cider is much more accessible than it used to be with many makers now selling online and having their own cider clubs for distribution alongside online bottle shops such as The Cat in the Glass has increased access for many.
Cider Women is becoming well known and is now the go-to organisation for diversity information and spokespeople.
What would you change about the UK’s current cider sector?
Ingredient labelling. People can then tell which ciders have more water than juice – which can’t be right – and are the #FromConcentrate ciders. Distinguish them from the #NotFromConcentrate majority juice ciders
Create a profile and language to describe fully fermented full juice dry ciders from orchard based cideries.
What is the biggest challenge we face as cider advocates?
Helping to expand markets due to the difficulty of distribution.
Modernising the cider community and promoting cider as a drink for now not just as an old traditional drink for old farmers.
There is still sexism and misogyny within the cider community to be called out wherever it appears!
Getting the public to understand the difference between low juice content sugary drinks and what modern cider has to offer.
What slogan should be on cider t-shirts?
Discover cider. Cider is for Everyone