How region's farmers are beating national cider slump
AS THE nation battles a step drop in cider sales, Southern Downs breweries are beating the heat with their craft lines.
David Sutton, of Sutton's Farms in Stanthorpe, is bucking the trend with steady sales and attributed it to locally-grown apples.
"We're using actual cider apples we grow ourself,” Mr Sutton said.
"Statistics from a lot of big commercial places show that most cider is just made from a concentrate, which may or may not be made in Australia.”
Anthony Cook from Granite Belt Cider Co. agreed the difference for local breweries was close ties to the region.
"We don't use any concentrates, sugars, or added flavour,” Mr Cook said.
"It's just real cider and that creates a closer connection between drinkers and producers.
"Our labels show that it is directly from farmers and consumers can trust that is the case”
Mr Cook also said while traditional cider sales were dropping, craft cider sales were increasing.
"Within craft cider, we are still seeing growth,” he said.
"There is a wider trend of consumers supporting products that have authenticity and connection to region.”
But that good news doesn't mean apple farmers are out of the woods completely.
Simon Favaro of Aeroview Orchards has seen a significant slump in his sales over the past year and blamed the drought.
"Apple consumption has definitely dropped in Australia for sure,” Mr Favaro said.
"This year's crop was plenty in volume but shops are not willing to budge from their size specifications.
"A smaller apple tastes just as good, if not better, than a larger one and in dry times, Australia needs to change its view.
"It can't be so picky with size.”
Mr Sutton agreed that a smaller apple doesn't necessarily lead to a bad apple or a bad cider.
"The reality of having a dry year is you end up with a better flavoured fruit with a stronger alcohol content,” Mr Sutton said.