The UK has a thriving cider scene, with the last few years in particular seeing a wave of innovative small producers making refined ciders that easily rival craft beer and wine when it comes to nuance and complexity. Being able to buy them easily, however, is another matter, with many pubs, bars and supermarkets only stocking generic mass-produced ciders. It’s a problem Ed Calvert and James Waddington want to solve with Crafty Nectar, which aims to connect the public to the huge array of traditionally made, artisan ciders available in this country.
Crafty Nectar has its own acclaimed range of ciders, including barrel-aged and keeved varieties, perry and funky collaborations with other makers (try the blackberry and hibiscus co-ferment cider, made with award-winning producer Once Upon a Tree). It also does gift boxes, covering everything from mead tasting to cider hampers, as well as cider tasting experiences and courses.
Alongside this, Crafty Nectar offers a subscription service curated by cider experts, featuring ciders from across the UK in a variety of styles. Everything is sourced from small independent producers, and the ciders have high juice content, with no concentrates or artificial flavours. (Mass-produced cider often has a low apple juice content – 35 per cent is the legal minimum. High apple juice content in cider is a sign of quality.)
Ordering is straightforward, with nice flexibility when it comes to subscription options. We choose the craft cider discovery box, which delivers six curated bottles to your door each month, but you can also try a mini three-bottle box or a fine cider taster box featuring two 750ml bottles of high-end premium cider. Choose from one-, three-, six- and 12-month plans. You can pause, skip or cancel your subscription easily.
Each month’s box has a different theme. Ours features ciders from the West Country, covering a range of different styles including dry, medium, keeved (a method of naturally sweetening ciders) sparkling and still, with some stellar producers featured, such as Somerset’s Pilton, one of our best ciders to try. We are impressed by the selection – many of the ciders are completely new to us and there were some lovely inclusions. Particular favourites include Rawlins Family Cider, a sweet keeved cider that’s fresh and rounded with mellow toffee apple, funk and tropical notes; and Axminster Craft Cider Co’s Brown & Redstreak, which has appealing stewed apple and spice notes. The box comes with helpful info on how to taste and appreciate your ciders and packaging is recyclable and plastic-free.
This subscription is a great way to try ciders you ordinarily won’t come across. With prices starting from just £15.50, it’s an affordable option for cider newbies, with plenty of interesting options to attract dedicated cider heads as well.
- Available from Crafty Nectar, from £15.50
Read our full round-up of the best wine subscriptions and clubs.