Introduction

L'Association des Industries des Cidres et Vins de fruits de l'U.E. (A.I.C.V.) represents the European Union cider and fruit wine industries in Brussels. The Association is pleased to have compiled this brochure to enable you to discover and learn about the principal activities of its members and the wealth and diversity of their products.

Although considerably smaller than the wine, beer, or spirits industries, it is nevertheless a fact that in recent years in some E.U. countries cider and fruit wines have enjoyed one of the fastest growth rates of all alcoholic beverages, underlining the continuous popularity of fermented fruit drinks down the ages.

From the beginning of time man has been making alcoholic drinks fermented from wild fruits and berries.

Adam and Eve

More than 2,000 years ago the ancient Greeks, Romans and Hebrews all knew about fermented drinks made from apples. The Hebrews called it Shekbar which, literally translated, means strong drink.

After becoming popular in northern Spain, “Sydre” spread through Europe thanks to the Romans and became famed as the drink of Kings and Princes. Indeed in the 9th Century A.D. Charlemagne reported on his manufacture of Sydre, or Cidre, in one of his Decrees.

At the time when the quality of drinking water was generally suspect, alternative beverages such as fermented drinks were consumed widely and in preference.

Following victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, Duke William of Normandy “William the Conqueror” proceeded to introduce cider into England where it quickly found favour with the natives. Following the invention of the screw press in the 13th Century larger scale production became possible and the growing of apple trees and making of cider spread rapidly from Western France to the detriment of the more fragile vine.

Apple blossoms

Ciders and fruit wines, with a pedigree established over 20 centuries, and a proud tradition and history, have played a prominent role in helping to make fruit growing become one of the most important sectors of European agriculture.

With an unrivalled know-how built on centuries of tradition, and by combining natural raw materials with modern technology and creative marketing, the cider and fruit wine industries of Europe believe they can look forward to a flourishing future.

Update on the development of the “European Cider- and Fruit Wine Industry” to end 2001

With the introduction of ‘new age alcoholic beverages’ which appeal mainly to the younger consumer groups, the market for all types of alcoholic beverage in Europe has changed and continues to change. Even traditional products such as cider and fruit wine are affected by this development, and the industry is anxious to strengthen its position on the market.

The members of AICV commit themselves to produce cider and fruit wines on the basis of fermented fruit juice. This is manifested in the AICV Code of Practice. However, laws stipulating this condition do not exist in every country of the E.U.; some member countries even lack simple legislative rules. For this reason, it sometimes happens that products appear in the market which call themselves cider or fruit wine, and are not made of fermented fruit juice, but with neutral alcohol as are most of the new age beverages. This type of beverage is rejected by AICV for the appellations ‘Cider’, ‘Perry’ (from pears), and ‘Fruit Wine’.

Wider choice for consumers has made the European market for cider and fruit wine much more difficult. The industry has responded by ensuring that high quality, and innovation, in its products are the foundations for a long life cycle in the market. The AICV is also putting great effort into promoting its quality criteria among countries outside the EU. The interest from third countries in quality regulation for cider and fruit wine is very high and they look to AICV to lead in this field.

Together we are working on maintenance of the character and high quality of our products, not only in Europe but across the globe.