New Cider Tackling NZ’s Pest Problem

With a promise to help New Zealand achieve its goal of being predator free by 2050 and a vision to see it become the paradise on earth it once was, new cider brand, Zeden Cider has launched.

Bay of Plenty local Bevan Wait is the lead co-founder of Zeden Cider, alongside Leon McDonald and Chris Durney. The three are also co-founders of Ranga alcoholic ginger beer, which was launched in early 2012 and is now the country’s top selling alcoholic ginger beer. Ranga recently brewed its one millionth litre and the brand has seen a 78% growth in sales over the Covid-19 period. It is also now being brewed under licence by Weston’s Cider in the UK.

Off the back of this success, Bevan is spearheading the Zeden Cider brand, combining his passion for both the environment and authentic cider.

“For me personally, this is a true passion project. I love good cider and I love the New Zealand environment,” said Bevan. “We have a massive pest problem in New Zealand and we as a nation need to get onboard to support our native forests and vulnerable wildlife. At Zeden Cider, we are dedicated to doing that by raising awareness as well as donating ten per cent of our profits to Forest & Bird to support conservation projects and campaigns around the country.

“To put the problem in perspective, for every New Zealander in our team of five million, there are ten possums – that’s 50,000,000 possums alone, along with millions of other pests causing considerable damage to our native forests and birdlife."

New Zealand’s native plants, animals and wild places have evolved in isolation to the rest of the world over 80 million years. Yet it has taken humans less than a thousand years to wipe out a significant amount of this natural heritage.

“Nature has been pushed to breaking point,” said Jo Prestwood of Forest & Bird. “Over 4,000 of our species are at risk of extinction. The burning of forests and tussock grasslands, the introduction of pests, the draining of wetlands, and loss of habitat through development are just some of the major contributing factors, and the problem isn’t going away on its own.”

“In partnership with local iwi and other conservation organisations, we are focusing on helping restore and protect the expansive bush area between Gisborne and Opotiki, the Raukumara Ranges. Over many years, pristine bush and birdlife has been decimated by possum, rats and browsing mammals in this region. But the wheels are now in motion to bring the birdsong back, and revive this mighty forest,” said Prestwood.

With Zeden Cider made from crisp East Coast apples and Hawke’s Bay feijoa, as well as being brewed in Gisborne, the donations they make will be helping to support this project within their own backyard. Zeden Cider are excited to have just made their first official donation of $1,000 to Forest & Bird this month.

“We use an authentic dry style of making cider which we picked up from Herefordshire in England, the home of cider, and we’ve put a local spin on it,” said Bevan. “In terms of taste, it’s noticeably less sweet than other ciders on the market – we know Kiwis are going to love it.”