Photo: Niels Johansen/Hotel Ullensvang
Fjord Tours Articles / 9 Mar 2020

Norwegian Cider’s Rise In Popularity

Cider brewing is a Norwegian custom that dates all the way back to the 13th century. However, once the Vinmonopolet or the Wine Monopoly came into effect, the practice largely died down. Despite this, Norwegians continued to brew cider in their homes and cellars. And now the drink is experiencing a surge in popularity yet again. If you’re a cider lover planning a visit to Norway, here’s everything you need to know!

Norway Grows Incredible Apples

Norwegian ciders are something special and It’s no great mystery why. The Hardanger region is home to stunning apple orchards. The plants thrive in the region due to the proximity of the Fjords, which reflect light onto the steep slopes, allowing the apple orchards to flourish. In addition, the gulf stream prevents the area from getting too cold during the winter months which also helps the plants thrive. The result is an incredible fruit that makes delicious, unique cider.

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Photo: Joar Aga

New Laws Help Cider Production Thrive

As mentioned, the Vinmonopolet gave cider producers some hurdles to overcome. Despite these challenges, cider sales were still rapidly growing in Norway during the early 2010s. Specifically, sales grew by about 60% from 2010 to 2014. Recognizing the popularity of the cider, the Norwegian government updated the laws around the beverages.

Prior to 2016, growers could only sell their cider beverages directly to consumers if they contained an alcohol percentage of less than 4.75. This was less than ideal as the best taste is achieved with an alcohol percentage of around 6 to 8 (which is quite high for a cider). Since 2016, growers have been able to sell ciders with an alcohol content of up to 22% directly to consumers. This new law has even further spurred the growth of the cider industry in Norway.

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Photo: Balestrand Adventure

Award-Winning Cider

Norway’s cider isn’t just popular with locals and tourists. It’s also received global recognition from a number of different groups. Most recently, Norwegian cider received acclaim at the Sagardo Forum, a cider competition hosted in Spain. Ulvik Frukt & Cideri won best in category for modern cider. And, Aakre Gard won best in category for premium carbonated cider.

Norwegian ciders also performed very well in the 2019 WorldCider Awards. Egge Gaard cider won two gold medals in the ice cider category. In addition, Egge Gaard, Balholm AS., as well as Ulvik Frukt & Cideri, also earned silver medals in the competition. These medals were awarded in the still cider, sparkling cider, and flavored cider categories. With this type of international acclaim under its belt, the Norway cider industry is only just getting started!

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Photo: Balestrand Adventure

Planning Your Visit

If you’re a fan of cider beverages and you’re planning your trip to Norway, visiting the Hardanger region should be at the top of your list. The Cider Tour in the Hardangerfjord is a great way to explore the region and taste some amazing Cider! During the tour, you learn about the production and manufacturing of the drink first hand. You will be able to sample the incredible array of ciders and learn about what creates the unique flavors in each type of cider.

If the rest of your travel companions aren’t quite as excited about cider tastings as you are, there are plenty of other activities in Hardanger to keep them occupied. Hardanger is also home to some majestic mountains and breathtaking waterfalls.

There is no doubt that cider lovers ought to add Norway to their travel bucket list. The opportunity to taste some of the world’s best ciders in a beautiful natural setting is something worth experiencing.

We hope to catch you in the apple orchard soon! 

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Photo: Visit Hardangerfjord