Getting to know: CiderLab
(This is my translation from Dutch of Mark van der Veek’s own words, to which I have added plenty of artistic licence!)
Until he discovered cider, Mark struggled to find a refreshing alternative to beer that was not high in alcohol. As a non-beer drinker, he was limited to drinking wine and cocktails in pubs and bars, at festivals and events — great drinks, of course, but not quaffable thirst-quenchers for sunny-days and dancefloors.
Discovering the joys of cider was a revelation, and Mark immediately found he could surprisingly slake his thirst with a fresh, elegant and invigorating taste. Enthused by the delights of cider, he quickly become a passionate convert to the wide-range of styles and versatile qualities of this very traditional and historic drink. Short of taking a swim in the fermented juice of apples, he completely immersed himself in the world of cider.
Mark learnt about the lengthy history and geographical spread of cider, and studied the chemistry and art of cider-making. He followed professional courses in cider, and spent vast amounts of time travelling, researching and tasting the best ciders. His exploration into the world of cider took him near and far, from a somewhat undeveloped cider-scene in the Netherlands to cider’s historic homes in France, England, Spain, and the Czech Republic. He even visited Japan for the love of cider.
At home in the Netherlands there was very little authentic cider produced. Original cider is made from apples, and nothing but apples, yet most ciders in the Netherlands were cheap, homogeneous imitations.
The appeal of Craft Beer has been increasing for many years and its popularity is now at an all-time high. Craft Cider deserves the same interest and reputation, so Mark founded CiderLab because it’s time for the Netherlands to embrace cider in all its varieties: sweet, medium or dry; clear or cloudy; still or sparkling; light or heavy; refreshing or warming; and everything in-between.
CiderLab is the platform in which Mark can share his love for cider, its tradition, its artisanal manufacture, and its versatility of flavour. His quest is to create enthusiasm for all cider — the best ciders in Europe and beyond, as well as his own hand-crafted cider (naturally).
The Netherlands is an apple-growing nation, so not only does it deserve access to a wide-variety of excellent ciders from around the world, but it’s also a country on the verge of kick-starting its own cider revolution with home-grown produce. CiderLab is also, therefore, a podium for Dutch cider-makers.