Exploring the fringes of the cider world through a lens, photographer Bill Bradshaw searches for beauty amongst the detritus. Click 'Blog Archive' below to see more posts & photography - the worlds largest collection of cider images from the heart of Somerset. Twitter: @IAMCIDER | Aaarp.
"The use of the term art medium is, to say the least, misleading, for it is the artist that creates a work of art not the medium. It is the artist in photography that gives form to content by a distillation of ideas, thought, experience, insight and understanding."
I found this great photography quote today. Whilst this is clearly un-related to cider in any way as all my own ideas are being used up in the cider manual I'm writing currently, it'll have to do for now.
Normal service will resume soon - promise!
I recently received a 12 page document full of lovely infographics from the National Association of Cider Makers here in UK that contains our most recent industry figures. Reading through it made me smile- I am proud to be British and I wanted to share it to give you all have some idea of just what cider means to us here. I have attached a few screen grabs to give you a taster. It put together by the NACM -the full document is there available to download from their website and designed by Goram & Vincent. They also hint at how many people are making what kind of cider and the commitment the industry has made to the future.
No photography today, sorry, but I hope the illustrations will make up for it.
I won't say any more other than well done all, well done!
Someone (a chap called Neil Barrington?) has updated our beloved cider map. The original was printed in 2001 and whilst a very good publication is now somewhat out of date. This is what you need if you ever plan to visit the area and want to meet some of our very best producers. I assume they'll be available as printed copies from various tourist information outlets - I'll try and grab a few and keep them handy for any of you folks that I'm likely to see.
Brilliant! I have a high res copy of anyone wants one (let I know.)
When you love something passionately, you really appreciate where its been. In the process of researching Worlds Best Cider, I've been hunting around for historic labels and adverts to include earlier on in the book. I discovered most of these on eBay for a pittance (although some were slightly more expensive.) They are real little beauties!
A map to stop you getting lost in Bristol when you're feeling thirsty and in need of cider. Bristol is a great city if you're looking for cider, its perfectly positioned between Somerset/the West country to the south, Wales to the west and Herefordshire/3 Counties to the north. Its become a bit of a cider capital of the UK and is well worth a visit for any foreign cider lovers who want to try as much as possible in as short a space of time as you may have!
I shared this yesterday (via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) because I liked the simplicity of the composition and the lighting etc and thought people might enjoy relating to that moment just before you take your first sip.
I slipped few cubes in to chill it slightly because both it and I were pretty warm by then. As the sun was out (for once) and I was hot having slaved over a stove for hours to prepare a family feast, I needed to be cool and refreshing. Mmmm....
However, the response it got was totally unexpected - no-one really gave a toss about the quality of the photography or 'the moment' because they were far more concerned with the fact that I, of all people, could put some ice in my cider! I really enjoyed the (albeit mild and short lived) controversy it caused and it made me realise that its one of those 'faux pas' cider folks really notice because they more commonly associate it with novice drinkers that have been suckered by the marketing of ciders that 'aren't real.'
It had me giggling and still does. I'll probably do it next time i forget to chill my cider, or glass in advance because theres something fun about swimming against the tide. Don't be afraid peeps, its just a few lumps of frozen water.
In my effort to join the dots of the cider world, I wanted to draw your collective attention to some important US cider events this year. About 5 years ago, two bright sparks (Alan Shapiro from SBS Imports and Mark Bronder -an investor) had the idea over the lunch one day of getting both producers and importers together at various Cider Summits throughout USA to educate, showcase and promote cider in all its earthly and international glory. Educating people about cider and its diversity is an important part of the scene, so its vital for growth. Importers are in an influential position as they tend to work across different markets and those differences are what give people ideas. They can push/suggest/guide producers that are established in one market into trying something new for another -with some very beneficial results. Some of the Normandy producers I met last year have established excellent relations with their US importers in recent last years and consequently have a massive separate market growing in USA (aside from their domestic market) which in their case guarantees their products fetch a premium and are always in demand (a very nice place to be.) I know some the cannier UK producers are forging links with partners in US and Australia currently and anyone who wants to get into the market should think about getting in soon, and the best place to start are at events like these. The USA cider scene particularly is 'on fire' at the moment, its booming. Its a microcosm (albeit a bloody large one) for the cider renaissance phenomenon thats washing over the globe and its a really exciting place to be. They're a great bunch of people, super passionate and friendly - some of whom you will have seen vicariously via the blog (so if you recognise their faces when you get there, either buy them a drink or buy one off them!) I can guarantee you'll drink some cider the likes of which you'll have had nowhere else on the planet, if only because no-one else experiments as widely as people tend to in the US. I see there are also UK, French and Spanish ciders represented too - so theres definitely something for everyone. This year in Seattle they're hoping to get 3000 people through the door. The Chicago event has the added bonus of being run back to back with 'Cider Con' -the annual US cider industry conference - so it'll offer punters a double whammy of schmoozing and boozing. As for Portland.. well its Portland and its worth checking out for that reason alone! We do alot of cider festivals here all over UK, but with regards to large cider specific events there isn't anything (although there was the as yet one off International Craft Cider Festival in 2011.) Our events tend to be tagged onto something else like the Bath & West Show or the Great British Beer Festival. I wish we did something like that here in UK, I'd relish the chance to get producers, importers and distributors together - I think our market is so ripe for import/export relations and its something I mention to people a lot - but there is never any uptake of interest. It'll refresh our attitudes towards tasting, exploring and comparing ciders from inside and outside UK. Its is the kind of thing America is more open minded about and I know it will continue to grow. I hope to go to some (or all) of these at some stage in the future but until I can, I want to do my bit by promoting the idea and the three events happening in 2013. I'd recommend any fellow cider dorks from UK, Europe and beyond to think seriously about going if you want to understand whats happening in the cider world right now and get some ideas about where its headed.
Dates are: Chicago 9th Feb, Portland 21-22 July & Seattle 6-7th September.
With Wassails fast appearing on the horizon and the post Christmas holiday stretch still in full expansion, I just wanted to give you all an update on things.
Firstly I'm currently spending 90% of my working hours (actually maybe that should be 'waking hours'?) researching, sampling, compiling, writing, shooting, e-mailing blah blah Worlds Best Cider. Referred to as 'a Herculean task' by wing man and co-author Pete Brown last week, he's just about hit the nail on the head. Its slightly ridiculous to attempt a book like this and virtually impossible with the time we've had but we mad enough to try. Things are getting a bit mental, particularly so far as deadlines are concerned yet we're getting there, but it doesn't leave much time for much else, so I apologise for the crapness of my blog of late.
Secondly and more importantly, have you seen Hot Rum Cow's second instalment? Its their Cider edition and we're running a joint competition to win a signed print!
I believe competitions should always be easy, so to encourage as many entries as possible and this one is no exception (unless you are a lemon?) All you have to do is Tweet your own cider photo to them @HotRumCow using #IAMCIDER to label it. Yes, folks, its that easy to win a signed print. I'd recommend you have a good rummage through my archive for some inspiration, get out there and take your time when you're shooting. It'd also give you the chance to eye up any images that take your fancy in case you win.
As an added element of inspiration, I'll share with you all my cider based phone images. I love the simplicity of using my phone, and the fact that its always in my pocket means I rarely miss a chance. If you fancy anything phone based, my last post Cidergram will give you some idea of whats achievable. Good hunting folks!
Incidentally, if anyone is interested in my seeing (or even following) my Instagram feed -where all of these and more are available, you can check it out at: http://instagram.com/billbradshaw