RG 2005 February
| This page is part of The Cidermaking Year by Rose Grant
I have used two types of bag in boxes. The tough plastic one is often supplied by home brew shops and is quite expensive at around £5 for the 10 litre version. The bag has a diagonal seam and it collapses like an old fashioned fire bellows as the wine or cider is withdrawn. Unfortunately the plastic is too stiff which gives it a tendancy to glug air in, when the box is getting near to empty, thus defeating its main advantage.
The multilayer thin plastic type that are used for wine are the ones made by Smurfit in France and are those that are now supplied by Vigo. The makers recommend these for short term storage of up to 3 months. I did a trial of this type last year, filling two 10 litre boxes with my cider in May. I then tasted the cider from these, every so often , throughout the summer. It was fine with no noticeable deterioration. The boxes were in my cider barn and subjected to ambient temperature variation, but the cider was still good enough to refresh me whilst cider making in October. I had by then begun to notice a slight edge to it, but it was not unpleasant.
A few weeks ago I tried the boxes again and the cider had acetified. This was not unexpected after 9 months of storage, especially after reading of Andrew's studies with regard to the porosity and permeability of plastic bottles and juice drums. However the trial clearly showed that cider will keep very well in these boxes for 3 or 4 months. If cider for sale is still left in them after 3 months, then something has to be wrong with the cider or the outlet selling it! I think they are a good solution for the small scale producer, now that they can be obtained at a sensible price.
I have followed Westons use of the bag in box with interest. Their 20 litre boxes are a great idea for parties. The organic vintage in the 3 litre box is an attractive impulse buy in supermarkets. Definately clever stuff. I think they have got it right. Good luck to them, because their ciders are nice as well.
Perhaps I should bottle some of my oak fermented cider. I had intended to sell it all in 10 ltr bag in boxes. Incidentally, Vigo have just started selling the Smurfit range of bag in box at very reasonable prices. The 10 litre one is £1.65 inc. VAT. They also sell the 3 and 5 litre versions.I hope they will extend the range to include the 20 litre as I believe this is the future for selling cider to pubs. There is no problem with air spoilage and they are available at a throw away price. Several producers have told me that pubs tend to lose polypins and they are not cheap to replace.
The next Vigo cataloque is not due until June. I discovered their new bag in box range by pestering them. I had previously tried to do business directly with Smurfit on line. All was going well until I asked them to quote for 500 off. Then silence! Vigo have obviously been able to buy an attractive quantity, which is good news. For your information the prices of the B in Bs from Vigo, including Vat are:
3 litres £0.94 5 litres £1.00 10 litres £1.65 (first price break is at 400 off. Ask for Mavis)
PS. I get no commission for this, But Vigo if you are out there, I'd like a bit off that stainless steel mill I 'm saving up for!