Cider disrupts the status quo at Imbibe Live

Susanna Forbes rounds up the most exciting apple developments at this year’s show

Fresh from collecting yet more trophies, Tom Oliver of Oliver’s Cider & Perry returns to break boundaries as Cider Ambassador at this year’s Imbibe Live. 

Arguably the most dynamic of categories, cider is becoming the disrupter. Embracing terroir while continuing to innovate, edging into natural wine territory while also dancing with the beer world, this is your chance to get up to speed. 

Kicking off proceedings on Centre Stage with a head-to-head with Aspall supremo, Henry Chevallier-Guild, Clash of the Titans pitches the Wizard of the West against the Beast from the East as they seek to win your vote for their top tip for four ciders four occasions.

Expect facts and fun as Imbibe’s Educator of the Year and The Beer & Cider Academy’s cider director Gabe Cook takes charge once more at The Academy in Want To Be A Pommelier?

Forget pork and ploughman’s, Fine Cider’s Felix Nash pairs up with Alexis of hip, seasonally-driven Wander Restaurant for aspirational cider and food matching.

Witness the future as Kyle Sherrer of hot US East Coast cidery Graft hops the pond to share insights in Catching the Wave, ahead of Graft’s launch with M&B later this summer.

Build a winning list with the help of two of the category’s sharpest champions: Martyn Sharman of Clapton Craft and Victor Zasadski of Pilango and the newly opened Cider Vault.

Finally, beg, borrow or bribe your way into Oliver’s keynote address, Serpents In A Burning Sky. Expect to have your senses challenged as Tom enters the fifth dimension, going beyond blending and into the world of co-fermentation, wild yeasts and cross-category collaborations. 

Meanwhile, hundreds of ciders on the Exhibition Floor cover the spectrum, from terroir-driven kvevri-toting Starvecrow to sassy hustlers Sxollie, from fruit-influenced Lilley’s to Kent ambassadors, Nightingale and Kentish Pip.

Tune in over coming days for further show highlights, news of The Tapsters finalists, plus details of the Cider Fringe, your chance to experience some of the Big Smoke’s leading cider venues in the company of cider – and perry – producers and fellow industry professionals.