Orchard Thieves Cider is a mass market cider made in Hereford by Heineken in the former HP Bulmers cider mill and at the plant in Belgium, from apples from around Europe. Except this bottle was made in New Zealand.

It’s probably worth noting that this should not be confused with the Cider makers Apple Thief from Batlow NSW.

Yeah, this is a problematic cider. Information is lacking to miss leading. Is this the same product made in Hereford or Belgium? Are they still using all European apples? All I can tell is that this bottle was made by Redwood Cider in New Zealand. Redwood also make Monteith’s, Rekorderlig and Old Mout Cider or at least the local varieties of those labels. I would like to hope that they use fresh Apples from New Zealand. But how can a cider display any sense of place when the apples are from all over Europe or maybe New Zealand?

The marketing here shows the drink with lots of ice. This is normally only used when you want to hide something. The coldness dulls the taste buds and waters down the beverage. You will never see a craft cider marketed with a glass of ice.Ochard Thieves Cider Review


The Nose

Can apples fart eggs? Because Orchard Thieves have perfectly captured the essence of that wonderful moment. Only to be interrupted with a sudden onset of a rush of sterile bandages, the smell you get from a roller hockey match played by the clumsy children of overprotective mothers.

The Taste

Disappointment and sugar. Honestly, that’s all you need to know but you want more detail on just why this is disappointing.

What little bitterness exists is in the form of a sterile bitterness, reflecting that bandage scent.

There is just too much sweetness which hides anything that unique about this cider. This sweetness is coming from a mix of sugars and artificial sweeteners giving that unpleasant diet soft drink after taste. The attempts to be an apple flavour results in something like a caricature of under-ripe apples

The websites say, “It takes approximately 11 days for the sugar to be converted into alcohol.”  But with the residual sweetness, it must be back sweetened possible with a sugar substitute.

Final Thoughts on the Orchard Thieves

My biggest concern with a cider like this is, will it give the impression that this is what Cider is meant to taste like? It bears no resemblance to Ciders where I know that all that goes into each batch is 100 pure local juice.

There is a saying in beer making “anybody can make one bad beer, but the skill of making the same bad beer day in day out is what gets you hired at Budweiser”. I get the feeling that the Redwood Cider team have skills. I would love to know what they make in their free time.

Product Orchard Thieves Apple Cider
Company Redwood or Heineken
Sweetness Sweet
Alc/Vol 4.5%
Website https://orchardthievescider.ie/
Country of Origin This bottle – New Zealand. Your bottle may be made in Europe or the UK
Region I guess Earth is an accurate statment.

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