Photo: Joar Aga
Fjord Tours Articles / 4 Mar 2020

The History of Cider Production In Norway

Did you know that cider production and manufacturing has a long and storied tradition in Norway? It is a little known fact about the Scandanavian country that often surprises people. However, with the recent rise in popularity of the drink in Norway, all that will likely change very soon.

In this article, you can brush up on your cider knowledge and impress your friends in the pub! Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about Norway’s surprising cider history.

Host Hotel Ullensvang Morten Knudsen 4492196 Photo Morten Knudsen
Photo: Morten Knudsen/Hotel Ullensvang

Early Cider History In Norway

We can’t talk about cider without talking about apples. The earliest documentation of fruit growing in Norway dates all the way back to the 13th century. It is believed that the Cistercian monks were the first to plant apple trees in Norway.

The region of Hardanger was among the first to begin to use apples to produce cider. Production of cider thrived between 1890 and 1920. However, in 1920, the Vinmonopolet or The Wine Monopoly was founded. This government monopoly, on the sale of beverages with an alcohol content above 4.95%, stalled the production of cider. However, many Norwegians continued to brew the drink on a smaller scale in their homes.

Vlcsnap 2020 02 05 15H30m48s281
Photo: Finurlig

The Cider Tradition Is Alive And Well

It seems that homebrewing kept the cider tradition alive and well in Norway. Today, cider is becoming an increasingly popular drink amongst locals and tourists alike. Luckily, the Norwegian microclimate in regions like Hardangerfjord and Sognefjord is perfect for growing a huge variety of apples in flourishing orchards. In fact, 40% of all Norwegian fruit is grown in the Hardangerfjord region.

What makes the apples in Hardanger and Sognefjord so great? It turns out that the fjords play an important role. They reflect light onto the steep slopes helping the apples grow and they also help keep the climate cooler during the summer months. Additionally, the gulf stream helps keep the climate warmer during the winter months. When combined, these factors help create an ideal environment to grow incredibly tasty fruit.

Lofthus Foto Hotel Ullensvang Niels Johansen 1 4491734 Photo Niels Johansen
Photo: Niels Johansen/Hotel Ullensvang

Cider Tour in the Hardangerfjord

Today, Hardanger cider is used to refer to ciders made with apples harvested from the Hardanger region. This is similar to the way the term Champagne can only be used to reply to alcohol created using grapes from the Champagne region.

The Cider Tour in the Hardangerfjord is a perfect alternative for those seeking to experience and taste the delicious Hardanger 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 available and learn about what creates the unique flavors in each type of cider. After your cider tasting, a delicious lunch will be served in the fascinating Agatunet Village. The lunch menu will consist of locally sourced ingredients with a focus on fresh produce. 

Cider tasting, blossoming fruit trees, beautiful mountains and breathtaking waterfalls in a magnificent fjord landscape! What more can you ask for? Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you might have. We’re always happy to help.

Cheers!

3R4A2799
Photo: Joar Aga