Cider firms in the UK this week said they may look to lower the alcohol content of their products, following in the footsteps of a new wave of lower alcohol beers.

Here are five facts about cider.

  1. One of the earliest written references to cider can be found in the Wycliffe 'Cider' Bible, printed in the early 15th Century. According to the National Association of Cider Makers, the bible gets its name from the translation of the verse 'For he (John the Baptist) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink...' The cider bible uses the word 'cider' (sidir) for strong drink and it can be viewed today in Hereford Cathedral's Chained Library.
  2. In the 14th Century, children were baptised in cider, as it was cleaner than the water. Farm workers' wages in earlier times included four pints of cider a day and it is believed Captain Cook carried cider on his ships to treat his crew for scurvy.
  3. Early English settlers introduced cider to the US by bringing with them seeds for cultivating cider apples. During the colonial period, hard cider was one of the country's most popular beverages. Consumption increased steadily in the US during the 18th century, only to plummet dramatically after 1919, with prohibition.
  4. Organic ciders are becoming increasingly available in the UK. To be organic the apples must come from orchards in which no pesticides have been used. Major cider producer Aspalls recently launched a scheme to have as much as 1,000 acres of old traditional orchards registered as organic with the Soil Association.
  5. Around 45% of all the apples grown in the UK are now used in the country for cider making. A reducing amount of apple juice concentrate from central European countries like Austria, Germany and Italy is required to make up the shortfall and to blend to produce certain styles of cider.