Cider is a very diverse market. Artisan cidermakers produce smaller quantities using specialist ingredients and traditional techniques. They may share part of the cider drinking market with industrial cider producers as well as some ingredients, but are made in totally different ways and essentially cater for different people who want different things from it. The two tend to have a fairly easy symbiotic relationship; one bringing new cider drinkers into the market by providing a readily available, neatly packaged and unoffensive alternative to beer and wine. The other offering drinker more challenging flavours, offering a larger variety of premium products and a local alternative whilst maintaining traditional values and heritage. To that extent, they actually do each other some good. The majority of artisan cider available here in the UK (for the time being anyway) is British and that's something all of us want to support.
Although Stella Cidre is not my cuppa tea, I will give thousands of people satisfaction and if you were to compare it to many of the other industrial ciders readily available all over the country (many of which are also made in the UK- oh the irony) it is actually better than a good proportion of them. I think the appearance of SC on the scene will hopefully cause enough concern to those UK producers who churn out the lower quality industrial ciders to stop and think. If their market share should take a hit, I hope it forces them to rethink their game plan (ahem-quality.)
So here it is (the second bottle) as they might want you to see it: spritzed, crisp and bright ready for my stepson to drink at our next BBQ. The only things missing are a pint glass and about 20 ice-cubes (& 50 more ribs)
To show you just how different a different kettle of fish they are from artisan producers, I have here some photography taken at a few of the larger cidermaking companies here in UK. Between them make a wide variety of ciders, industrial and traditional, some of them excellent.