This week we turn our attention to a cider produced by East Japan Railway Company. No, that’s not a mistake. Before the train leaves the station, though, we will make a few general comments. It is our opinion that the market for hard cider in Japan is potentially sizable. Why? There are several reasons. First, Japan produces a large variety of apples suitable for cider. Second, the drink is low in alcohol, which should make it attractive to certain cohorts. Third, it is delicious and refreshing. Fourth, Japanese consumers to a large extent prefer eating apples that are aesthetic. Misshapen or cosmetically imperfect fruit is not likely to command a high price. Hence, what may be unsuitable for the table may be perfect for the glass.
A-FACTORY Aomori Cidre Sparkling Dry is a simple cider with an unmistakable apple-juice nose, a pale lemon color, an abv of 7%, and about equal amounts of sweetness and acidity, which are both fairly low. From the picture, you can see that it has been filtered. In most respects, it is quite similar to Strongbow, that highly successful “British” cider made by H. P. Bulmer, which is owned by the Dutch Heineken International. Ah, the death of nations in the age of globalization! The major difference between Strongbow and Aomori Cidre Dry is the level of sweetness, which from what we remember of the former is noticeably sweeter.
This simple cider, which is obviously intended for casual drinking, may prove to be the perfect “gateway cider,” if you will. Its easy-to-appreciate appeal may encourage some who try it to explore other manifestations of the beverage. A couple of glasses of same, accompanied by a few songs by The Wurzels* (e.g., “I Am a Cider Drinker”), may prove to be the apples of quite a few eyes, whatever that means.
*The Wurzels are a Scrumpy and Western band from Somerset, UK. Readers are encouraged to check out their website: http://www.thewurzels.com/ .
N.B.: It is our firm opinion that Japan needs its own version of The Wurzels to sing the praises of its cider, cider drinkers, and cider makers. Any takers?