Cider Producer of the Month: Zeffer
Cidermaker Jody Scott experiments with the freshest local produce to craft clean, crisp, award-winning ciders that are the apple of his eye!
How long have you been brewing cider for Zeffer?
I joined Sam Whitmore who founded Zeffer with his partner Hannah Bower just over four years ago – they were really amongst the first craft cidermakers in New Zealand. I moved with the company to the Hawke’s Bay a year and a half ago. It’s been a great move for us and we have also been able to plant our own orchard which has been exciting.
Where are you from and what brought you to New Zealand?
I was born in Devon, in the South West of the UK. It is in the heart of UK cider country so perhaps I was always destined to be a cider maker! My background is actually in wine making and I originally came to New Zealand in 2008 for a vintage position. I returned to Marlborough in 2012 for second vintage and it was around this time that I began researching the cidermaking scene and realised the potential that existed to put New Zealand cider on the world map.
How long have you been making cider?
I first had a crack at making cider on a very small scale with some friends during a wine vintage in the UK in 2009. The weather was terrible and the crops were down so we filled our spare time making cider and alcoholic ginger beer. It was a good first attempt although I have certainly refined my cidermaking skills since then!
How is cider made?
In very basic terms, cider is a wine made from apples. The core process is the same as wine making – we press the apples to make juice, add some yeast and let it ferment. At that point you have cider. From there most ciders in New Zealand are carbonated and then bottled, canned or kegged. But the part that I love best is when we start blending different fruits, or adding other fruits and spices during the cider making process. We’re very spoilt for choice when it comes to local produce to experiment with like cherries, hops and native plants like kawakawa.
What makes Zeffer cider stand out from the crowd?
For us it’s the quality of the ingredients we choose to use in making our cider. We don’t for example ferment apple juice concentrate. We instead use freshly pressed Hawke’s Bay apples and we make sure any ingredients we use to create our flavour profiles are the best quality we can find.
How does the Hawke’s Bay local produce and climate affect the cider?
Hawke’s Bay is the fruit bowl of New Zealand and for a good reason. The excellent climate means that the fruit is always of great quality and that makes the consistency and clean crisp flavours of our ciders achievable.
What is your favourite Zeffer cider and what do you like to pair it with?
I still go for the original Crisp Apple cider and really it pairs well with lots of cuisines. To be honest though I mostly just pair it with something on the BBQ. But cheese is always a great friend of cider too.