HISTORY OF CIDERS
BEER CHALLENGES CIDER
SIQERA – THE INDIAN CIDER
JOURNEY SO FAR
The initial thought brewed in 2017 from chats and meetings over a few drinks. Amit and Rishi wanted to ‘premium-ise’ the local alcohol industry. Ciders were missing from the Indian scenes, even after a few failed attempts by Tempest, Himachal, and Bhai ciders in the mountain states. While across the world they were deemed as a rapidly growing segment, India was missing all the goodness. Amar had been making one of the most talked-about ciders in the Pune-Mumbai taproom circuit at Doolally. So they joined hands and pounced at the opportunity. They had major roadblocks to cross to begin with. Producing a beverage outside of an already defined category under the local excise rules comes with its own unique challenges. Having no cideries in Haryana, Rishi says, posed as the biggest. “We had to build the whole process from the ground up with the support of Excise and Taxation Department of Haryana to get everything in order – from setting up the manufacturing unit, to getting a cold bottle of our cider in your hands. It is the first of its kind, which in a way motivates the team, as long as they believe in their dream and final vision of the brand”. Their hard work has landed them not only the licence today, but also a fully-operational cidery, probably the first professional setup of its kind in India, in Manesar.
APPLE + MANGO CIDER
When asked why did they pick cider from the host of possible drinks, they opine that it was their connection with the fruit that moved them towards providing it a proper platform. And talking of a connect, the second variant is an infusion with mango! The team agrees that the magic of mango is very close to every Indian’s heart. Before settling on it though, trials with a few different fruits were executed. It’s the instant connection with the resultant beautiful golden drink which till date remains hard to explain in words. “There’s something about the memory of running barefoot on the street with an armful of mangoes that’s embedded in every Indian’s conscious. Siqera’s Mango Cider is a playful Indian twist on traditional ciders. So, for us, it was the right fruit choice to give our consumers something which they would emotionally connect to.”
Apple concentrate is brought in from China and is diluted with water before fermentation with the Champagne yeast. This specific strain of yeast aids in preserving the natural fruit flavours while adding none of its own. It takes approximately 25 days for a bottle to be produced from scratch and be ready for dispatch. For the mango cider, locally sourced Alphonso mango pulp is added at a later stage that adds an aromatic kick and instant recall of the fruit’s character. Sweetness is adjusted, not with sugar, but with unfermented fruit juice.
I recently visited the cidery with a collective of bar and beverage professionals from Delhi NCR. The facility has ample space to grow, which holds a promise for the future. With their plans to capture the major North Indian markets, Siqera will soon be seen in Delhi NCR, and Chandigarh. And not just that, they have two new variants brewing already! With such growth plans for the brand comes the task of strengthening the mark of Siqera in the consumers’ minds. It’ll take a ton of experimenting with the consumers, educating, and constant visibility before they befriend the drink, for which the team seem prepared.
CIDER – A HEALTHY OPTION?
One aspect that helps the brand from the get-go is the drink’s nutritional values. Despite a high 9% alcoholic content, cider is considered healthier than beer as it doesn’t leave one with a beer-belly, and dangerous higher cholesterol levels. In fact, the Chinese drink ciders alongside their meals for its digestive properties. They’re naturally rich in anthocyanins, polyphenols, nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants, naturally benefiting the human body when consumed in moderation.
Both the variants are amicable and instantly recognisable. Though I prefer the mango cider over the apple one, it can be only drunk as much before its sweetness gets a tad overwhelming. No matter which one you may pick, you’re definitely in for a treat.