Increased cellar door visits, online purchases, and the backing of liquor giant Dan Murphy’s has Bundaberg’s Cheeky Tiki ciders bubbling along nicely post-COVID-19.
In recognition of Australian Cider Day on March 13, Dan Murphy’s has announced that sales of craft cider have increased during the past 12 months, reflecting a wider trend of customers wanting to support independent, locally made and grown products.
This trend is reflected at Ohana Winery and Cheeky Tiki Cider where co-owner Zoe Young says craft cider sales have increased by 20 per cent over the past 12 months.
Zoe attributed the rise to an increase in the number of cellar door visitors at Ohana, driven by the increase in domestic travel to the Bundaberg Region, and the backing of Dan Murphy’s.
“More people at the cellar door means more people are tasting more products, which means more sales,” Zoe said.
“Add to that the support of bottle shops like Dan Murphy’s promoting real Australian cider (and) Australian consumers have never had more opportunity to support smaller producers such as ourselves.
“It’s really cool for people to come and visit the cellar door because they can taste any or all of our products that we make here and, once they know what they like, they can purchase online and have repeat orders sent out.”
Zoe said another reason people were falling in love with craft ciders was that many, including Ohana’s creations, are made using real fruit.
She said it had become apparent at weekend guided tours of the venue that many people did not realise that only 10 to 15 per cent of Australian ciders were made using Australian-grown apples, and they were often impressed that a natural option was available.
“Eighty-five to 90 per cent of Australian apple ciders are made with foreign concentrates and powders, and syrups and some pretty nasty stuff all brewed up as a chemical concoction,” Zoe said.
“Some of them even have apple aromas added to them to make them smell like apples.”
She said visitors were able to taste a significant difference when presented with a cider created with real apples.
Starting out in Childers in 2015, Zoe and her husband Josh, who is co-owner and cider and wine maker at Ohana, created fruit wines before broadening their scope to create ciders, relocating to Bundaberg in August 2018 to secure greater shed space to meet increased production demand.
The couple now purchase their apples directly from Nicoletti Orchards in Stanthorpe, all of which are crushed onsite at Ohana.
“As we are winemakers, our cider style is made very similar to a sparkling wine – very fruit forward, crisp and refreshing as opposed to more old school farmhouse cider styles which have an element of funk to them,” Zoe said.
“Of course, we also make a range of apple-based fruit ciders. This is our speciality – gathering local Bundaberg fruit, combining it with Stanthorpe apples and turning it into delicious all-natural fruit ciders.”
Zoe said one of the advantages of operating in Bundaberg was the access Ohana had to fresh fruit and produce.
She said Ohana used locally grown products, including strawberries, passion fruit and ginger to create their ciders and wines and added that she and Josh enjoyed experimenting with flavours.
“It’s always fun to experiment, especially here in Bundaberg because there is so much beautiful, fresh produce grown here,” she said.
“We like to work with what’s in season. We’ve just been chatting with a grower in Gayndah about some lemons and citrus that are in full swing.
“We just love working with the local farmers here. Everyone grows such great produce.”
In June 2019, Cider Australia launched the 100 per cent Australian Grown trust mark to help consumers identify and buy local products, and it is now displayed on hundreds of ciders across Australia including Cheeky Tiki.
Ohana Winery and Cheeky Tiki Cider is located at 5 Alexandra Street, Bundaberg East, and is open for tastings six days per week. Its ciders are also available at Dan Murphy’s Bundaberg.
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