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Scrumpy is cider originally created in the West Country of England,[1] particularly Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Today the term is used to distinguish locally made ciders produced in smaller quantities and using traditional methods, from mass-produced branded ciders.[2]


Various origins of the name have been proposed. The Oxford English Dictionary derives the name from the noun scrump, meaning something withered or dried up, specifically apples. Other claimed derivations include a noun scrimp with the same meaning, derived from a verb scrump, meaning to steal fruit.[3][4] Neither of these meanings is attested in the Oxford English Dictionary. It can be applied to basic home made ciders as well as to commercially produced and marketed varieties.[2]


Scrumpy can be dry or sweet, and is usually still rather than carbonated, but may have some degree of carbonation.[5][6] However, it tends to be stronger in alcohol and more tannic than most commercial ciders. Due to its traditional methods of production, it is usually very pulpy, and resultantly often cloudy in appearance.[2]

It is produced by pulping and pressing a quantity of apples, and then adding the juice to a vessel with a special lid to ensure the pressure does not rise too much.[7] It may be necessary to add a Campden tablet to prevent undesirable bacterial action, and the vessel must be sanitized.[7][8] The vessels are sealed and left to ferment for a few months.[8]

In popular culture[edit]

Scrumpy was often featured in the songs of The Wurzels, a folk/comedy/country group from South West England, especially in the song "I Am A Cider Drinker", and the song "Drink up ye Zider". Scrumpy is also referred to in several folk punk songs, such as The Dreadnoughts' "West Country Man", The Skimmity Hitchers "Get Scrumpy", Surfin Turnips "One More Drink", and Barren Waves "Laila's Addicted to Scrumpy".

In the final episode of the first series of I'm Alan Partridge, Michael drinks from a large bottle of scrumpy at a party in Alan's room.

In the computer game Team Fortress 2, the Demoman, who is an alcoholic, carries a bottle of scrumpy as a melee weapon, which he also drinks from.

In the Discworld series, Nanny Ogg makes scumble, a potent liquor based on scrumpy. The beverage is mentioned throughout the Discworld universe.

In the Xbox video game Fable, the hero is sent on a quest to Orchard Farm to save a farmer who is making scrumpy.

Other uses[edit]

As well as scrumpy made with apples, there also exists pear scrumpy, similar to perry. Scrumpy and Western describes a kind of music from the West Country, where scrumpy is traditionally produced, typified by The Wurzels.


  1. ^ Soanes, Catherine (2005). The Oxford Dictionary of English (revised edition). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-861057-2. 
  2. ^ a b c Campaign for Real Ale (15 April 2009). Cider. CAMRA Books. ISBN 1852492597. 
  3. ^ "Scrumpy". h2g2. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Scrump". Reverso. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Scrumpy". World Brands Australia. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  6. ^ "Scrumpy/ Rough/ Real Cider". Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Hard Cider Scrumpy – How to make cider". Home Brewing Caps. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Paul Gunningham's Own Scrumpy". Somersetmade Ltd. Retrieved 4 December 2013.