27 July 2007

Ultra vires redux

Last year I took the bold step of reporting on a cider which was being made by a local brewpub. I said at the time that "you won't normally catch me drinking the stuff", which you won't. Today I broke that rule a second time, and once again for a very good reason. I was in the Bull & Castle discussing the state of Irish brewing with one of the management and some ICBers. The subject turned to an Irish craft cider on guest at the pub, going by the name of Johnny Jump Up. None of us were big cider fans, but I decided that a test bottle was in order, in the interests of keeping track of what Irish brewers were up to.

It has been many a year since I've tasted Bulmers (by which I mean Magners, to those of you not in Ireland), but my memory is good enough to know that Lucozade-orange Johnny Jump Up does a remarkably good impression of it. Suspiciously, the first ingredient listed on the label is "cider". It doesn't have the seriously off-putting vulcanised rubber taste (despite sulphur dioxide also being in the ingredients), but it is seriously sweet in a way that apples aren't. It's also remarkably flat, making it eminently drinkable if you can get past the sweetness, which I couldn't. The big hit is that they're charging €6.20 a bottle for this.

If you want overpriced flat Bulmer's, this is the lad for you. I wonder who does their market research?


  1. It's marketed as Magner's in the north as well, no idea why. Never been much of a cider fan myself, but am tempted to give that Kopperberg Pear stuff a go.

  2. You've gone and asked now. Mr Magner founded the company in Clonmel, but joined with Mr Bulmer from Hereford early on to help promote it. By the time Bulmer pulled out of the Irish operation, Magner's company was known as Bulmer's. So he stuck with it. Then in 1999 the Irish Bulmer's decided to go global but discovered they only had rights to their own name in the Irish state, so reverted to the original company founder's name everywhere else. Phew. Dull, eh?

    I think it's only a matter of time before they rebrand the Irish operation as Magner's.

    Kopperberg, I'm told, isn't actually a cider or perry at all. It's an alcopop.

    Anyway, enough cider.