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PERRY is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented pears , similar to the way cider is made from apples. It has been common for centuries in England
England
, particularly in the Three Counties ( Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
, Herefordshire
Herefordshire
and Worcestershire
Worcestershire
); it is also made in parts of South Wales and France
France
, especially Normandy
Normandy
and Anjou
Anjou
. Traditional perry (poiré in French) is bottled champagne-style in Normandy
Normandy

In more recent years, commercial perry has also been referred to as "pear cider", but some organisations (such as CAMRA ) do not accept this as a name for the traditional drink. The National Association of Cider
Cider
Makers , on the other hand, disagrees, insisting that the terms perry and pear cider are interchangeable. An over twenty-fold increase of sales of industrially manufactured "pear cider" produced from often imported concentrate makes the matter especially contentious.

CONTENTS

* 1 Production

* 1.1 Fruit
Fruit
* 1.2 Technique

* 2 History

* 2.1 Modern commercial perries * 2.2 Decline and revival of traditional perry

* 3 " Pear
Pear
cider"

* 4 Outside England, Wales since then many varieties have become critically endangered or lost. There were over 100 varieties, known by over 200 local names, in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
alone. Perry
Perry
pears were particularly known for their picturesque names, such as the various Huffcap varieties (Hendre Huffcap, Red Huffcap, Black Huffcap, all having an elliptical shape), those named for the effects of their product (Merrylegs, Mumblehead), pears commemorating an individual (Stinking Bishop , named for the man who first grew it, or Judge Amphlett, named for Assizes court judge Richard Amphlett), or those named for the place they grew ( Hartpury
Hartpury
Green, Bosbury Scarlet, Bartestree Squash). In the UK the most commonly used variety is the Blakeney Red. Unsuitable for eating, it produces superior perry.

Perry
Perry
pear trees can live to a great age, and can be fully productive for 250 years. They also grow to a considerable height and can have very large canopies; the largest recorded, a tree at Holme Lacy
Holme Lacy
which still partly survives, covered three quarters of an acre and yielded a crop of 5–7 tons in 1790. Their size often led to them being planted to provide a windbreak for apple orchards.

TECHNIQUE

Traditional perry making is broadly similar to traditional cider making, in that the fruit is picked, crushed, and pressed to extract the juice, which is then fermented using the wild yeasts found on the fruit's skin. The principal differences between perry and cider are that pears must be left for a critical period to mature after picking, and the pomace must be left to stand after initial crushing to lose tannins , a process analogous to wine maceration . After initial fermentation, the drink undergoes a secondary malolactic fermentation while maturing.

Perry
Perry
pears often have higher levels of sugar than cider apples, including unfermentable sugars such as sorbitol , which can give the finished drink a residual sweetness. They also have a very different tannin content to cider apples, with a predominance of astringent over bitter flavours. The presence of sorbitol can also give perry a mild laxative effect.

Perry
Perry
from Gloucestershire, Herefordshire
Herefordshire
and Worcestershire
Worcestershire
made from traditional recipes now forms a European Union
European Union
Protected Geographical Indication .

HISTORY

Quern for making perry and cider at Hellens , Herefordshire, where a large orchard was planted to commemorate the coronation of Queen Anne ; avenues of perry pears from it still survive. The varieties Hellens Early and Hellens Green were named after the house.

The earliest known reference to fermented alcoholic drinks being made from pears is found in Pliny , but perry making seems to have become well established in what is today France
France
following the collapse of the Roman empire; references to perry making in its later heartland of England
England
do not appear before the Norman Conquest
Norman Conquest
. In the medieval period, France
France
retained its association with pear growing, and the majority of pears consumed in England
England
were in fact imported from France.

By the sixteenth and seventeenth century, however, perry making had become well established in the west of England, where the climate and soil was especially suitable for pear cultivation. In the three counties of Worcestershire, Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
and Herefordshire
Herefordshire
in particular, as well as in Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire
across the Welsh border, it was found that perry pears grew well in conditions where cider apple trees would not. Smaller amounts were also produced in other cider-producing areas such as Somerset
Somerset
. Perry
Perry
may have grown in popularity after the English Civil War
English Civil War
, when the large numbers of soldiers billeted in the Three Counties became acquainted with it, and reached a zenith of popularity during the eighteenth century, when intermittent conflicts with France
France
made the importing of wine difficult. Many farms and estates had their own orchards, and many varieties of pear developed that were unique to particular parishes or villages.

Whereas perry in England
England
remained an overwhelmingly dry , still drink served from the cask, Normandy
Normandy
perry (poiré) developed a bottle-fermented, sparkling style with a good deal of sweetness.

MODERN COMMERCIAL PERRIES

The production of traditional perry began to decline during the 20th century, in part due to changing farming practices – perry pears could be difficult and labour-intensive to crop, and orchards took many years to mature. The industry was, however, to a certain degree revived by modern commercial perry making techniques, developed by Francis Showering of the firm Showerings of Shepton Mallet
Shepton Mallet
, Somerset, in the creation of their sparkling branded perry Babycham
Babycham
. Babycham, the first mass-produced branded perry, was developed by Showering from application of the Long Ashton Institute's research, and was formerly produced from authentic perry pears, though today it is produced from concentrate, the firm's pear orchards having now been dug up. Aimed at the female drinker at a time when wine was not commonly available in UK pubs , Babycham
Babycham
was sold in miniature Champagne-style bottles; the drink was for many years a strong seller and made a fortune for the Showering family. Another competing brand of light perry, Lambrini , is manufactured in Liverpool
Liverpool
by Halewood International , and marketed under the slogan " Lambrini Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". It now dominates the light perry market and has a somewhat downmarket image in Britain. The Irish drinks company Cantrell and Cochrane
Cantrell and Cochrane
, Plc (C"> It is also generally of lower strength, and sweeter, than traditional perry, and is artificially carbonated to give a sparkling finish. However, unlike traditional perry it is a consistent product: the nature of perry pears means that it is very difficult to produce traditional perry in commercial quantities. Traditional perry was overwhelmingly a drink made on farms for home consumption, or to sell in small quantities either at the farm gate or to local inns.

DECLINE AND REVIVAL OF TRADITIONAL PERRY

Both English perry making, and the orchards that supplied it, suffered a catastrophic decline in the second half of the 20th century as a result of changing tastes and agricultural practices (in South Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
alone, an estimated 90% of orchards were lost in the last 75 years). Many pear orchards were also lost to Fire blight
Fire blight
in the 1970s and 1980s. As well as the clearing of orchards, the decline of day labouring on farms meant that the manpower to harvest perry pears – as well as its traditional consumers – disappeared. It also lost popularity due to makers turning to dessert or general purpose pears in its manufacture rather than perry pears, resulting in a thin and tasteless product. In the UK prior to 2007, the small amounts of traditional perry still produced were mainly consumed by people living in farming communities.

However, perry (often marketed under the name "pear cider", below) has in very recent times increased in popularity, with around 2.5 million British consumers purchasing it in one year. In addition, various organisations have been actively seeking out old perry pear trees and orchards and rediscovering lost varieties, many of which now exist only as single trees on isolated farms; for example, the Welsh Cider
Cider
Society recently rediscovered the old Monmouthshire
Monmouthshire
varieties "Burgundy" and the "Potato Pear" as well as a number of further types unrecorded up to that point.

One may also find perry concentrated, in a similar style to applejack .

"PEAR CIDER"

" Pear
Pear
cider" has in recent years been used as an alternative name for alcoholic drinks containing pear juice, in preference to the term perry . According to the BBC, the term was first used when Brothers Cider
Cider
, a product industrially made from pear concentrate, rather than the traditional method using perry pears, was sold at Glastonbury Festival in 1995: nobody understood what perry was and were told that it was "like cider, but made from pears".

The use of the term "pear cider", instead of perry, is one of the reasons for a new commercial lease of life to a drink that was in decline; in two years sales of the drink increased from £3.4 million to £46 million. The brewers Brothers, Gaymers and Bulmers/ Magners
Magners
now all have their own brands of pear cider, and Tesco
Tesco
and other major supermarkets have increased the number of pear ciders that they sell. The term "pear cider" is seen by the manufacturers as being more marketeable to the younger 18–34 demographic and by differentiating their products from previous brands associated with the word perry, such as Babycham
Babycham
and Lambrini that are either associated with the female market or deemed out of fashion by the younger demographic.

CAMRA takes makers like Brothers to task, defining perry and pear cider as quite different drinks, stating that "pear cider" as made by the large industrial cidermakers is merely a pear-flavoured drink, or more specifically a cider-style drink flavoured with pear concentrate, whereas "perry" should be made by traditional methods from perry pears only. (Brothers, Bulmers
Bulmers
and other pear ciders are made from pear concentrate, often imported.) Others, including the industry trade National Association of Cider
Cider
Makers , maintain that the terms perry and pear cider are interchangeable. Its own rules specify that perry or pear cider may contain no more than 25% apple juice.

OUTSIDE ENGLAND, WALES & NORMANDY

IN AUSTRALIA

The beverage is also becoming increasingly popular in Australia. Small local manufacturers are beginning to appear such as Gypsy Cider, brewed by 2 Brothers Brewery in Melbourne, Henry's of Harcourt (VIC) and LOBO Cider
Cider
in the Adelaide Hills as well as Paracombe Premium Perry
Perry
also in the Adelaide Hills. Few traditional European Perry
Perry
pears are available, it is believed that Moorcroft, Gin, Green Horse -webkit-column-width: 33em; column-width: 33em; list-style-type: decimal;">

* ^ Paul Gallagher (25 November 2012). " Pear
Pear
cider boom angers purists". The Independent. Retrieved 25 July 2013. * ^ A B Pear
Pear
cider ruling gives perry a timely boost, The Grocer , 19-05-2007 * ^ Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire
Orchard Group, Pears, accessed 08-12-2009 * ^ A B C D Pears and Perry
Perry
Making in the UK, accessed 8 December 2009 * ^ A B Oliver, T. The Three Counties & Welsh Marches Perry Presidium Protocol * ^ A B Grafton, G. Perry
Perry
Making, accessed 8 December 2009 * ^ "section XVI", Pliny\'s Natural History, book XV, retrieved 28 October 2011 * ^ Wilson, C. A. Liquid Nourishment: Potable foods and stimulating drinks, Edinburgh University Press, 1993, p.94 * ^ Keeping It Real, Royal Horticultural Society * ^ Normandy, World Perry
Perry
Capital, Welsh Perry
Perry
& Cider
Cider
Society, accessed 8 December 2009 * ^ Prancing to the tune of Babycham, Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph
* ^ Alan Carr
Alan Carr
plies his guests with it on his chat show Chatty Man , and remarked that some guests, like The Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas