AN award-winning family Cidery in Warwickshire has launched a new limited-edition to celebrate finally welcoming the first visitors to its taproom – 14 months on from its planned launch.
The day has been a long time coming for the owners of Napton Cidery, whose grand opening plans were suddenly stalled just days before the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Jolyon and Charlotte Olivier lost more than £100,000 in revenue after being forced to cancel planned events, workshops and tasting tours at the venue, instead being forced to take all their trade online.
But a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year to help mount a post-pandemic recovery of their business, has exceeded expectations, leading the couple to once again revisit their plans for expansion.
The taproom and shop also sells perry, juices, spirits and vinegars as well as a new products the team have been working on this year – including Apple Cider Brandy, canned ciders and branded collectors’ glasses.
Jolyon recalls: “The tap room was closed before it even opened. Our licence was issued on the Monday immediately after the Government shut the pubs in March. We had been planning a big launch to celebrate. We also had six pubs lined up ready to install our kegs, all of which had to close as well.
“So we thought it appropriate to celebrate finally being able to open with a limited-edition cider that we’ve called The Taproom Special, it’s a single-variety cider made from the Katy apple.”
But be warned, there are only 1,200 bottles available – and cider lovers can only get their hands on one by visiting the taproom in Napton-on-the-Hill.
The business started life as a hobby nine years ago when the couple were first introduced to the taste of craft cider on a family holiday to Cornwall. Returning home with an apple tree, they soon started experimenting in their back garden.
Central to Napton’s growing popularity among customers is its strong sustainability ethos, from harvesting through to packaging. All of its apples come from traditional unsprayed orchards, organic and biodiverse growers, so no unnatural chemicals are introduced into the ecosystem. The cider is also naturally fermented using only wild yeasts and packaged in recyclable materials and all ingredients sourced as locally as possible.
Today, the team harvests, presses, bottles and distributes more than 90,000 litres of craft cider a year, using 17 types of apples from six orchards across the Herefordshire region.
Charlotte added: “It’s been quite emotional seeing people walk through our doors. While we are obviously working hard to stay within the restrictions that are still in place and keep our customers safe, we are over the moon to be welcoming visitors, at long last, to our new facility – and look forward to being able to hold events again, hopefully in the summer months.”
In the meantime though, bookings are now being taken for tours and tastings, including the Ploughman’s & Cider Tasting Tour. Here guests are taken through the cider-making process and invited to sample six recipes, whilst also enjoying a Ploughman’s Supper supplied by Napton Village Stores.
The Cidery is open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 12-5pm.
Visit Napton Cidery at: https://www.naptoncidery.co.uk/
Learn more about the Ploughman and Cider Tasting Tour at: https://www.naptoncidery.co.uk/ploughmans-cider-tasting