A local cidery’s limited-edition recipe has earned a sought-after spot in a top-rated Channel Four food and drink show this weekend.
Napton Cidery’s Whiskey Cask Cider is among only three nationally selected to be critiqued by a celebrity panel in a Sunday Brunch guest slot hosted by industry expert Gabe Cook.
The 7.7% oak-aged Cider which has caught the expert’s attention, is made from a blend of Kingston Black apples from a 30-year-old orchard and matured in single malt whiskey casks from Auchentoshan distillery using wild yeasts and natural sugars.
The blend was also last month included in a CAMRA-published guide compiled by Cook called Modern British Cider.
With 15 years of experience to draw on, Cook, pictured above, is an acclaimed international, writer, broadcaster, educator and consultant on all matters cider. An outspoken advocate of the industry, he is leading the charge for a cider revolution by chairing a number of international competitions and heading up campaigns, events and publications.
He said: “Napton Cidery’s Whiskey Cask cider is the perfect embodiment of a great cider for winter time – rich and smooth. The time spent in the Whiskey cask has added an extra dimension of soft roundedness that makes it perfect to be drunk in front of the fire!
“It has Christmas pudding levels of clove and cinnamon richness but finely balanced with a brusque bitterness, dusty astringency and glowing warmth.”
The Cidery, run from Napton-on-the-Hill by husband and wife Jolyon and Charlotte Olivier, 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.
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.
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.
The 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. There’s also the opportunity to sample them all.
Jolyon said: “We feel absolutely delighted to see our product live on national television. It seems like yesterday we were making cider in the garage. Seeing our cider picked as one of three on Channel Four with the likes of Gabe Cook gives us a great sense of achievement. Rest assured we will be celebrating during Sunday Brunch and toasting to this massive milestone.
“This product in particular is a really special one, matured in oak casks, giving it a super smooth finish. It is certainly my favourite cider in our collection.”
The Cidery’s Taproom offers cider tasting tours and workshops as well as hosting live events including stand-up comedy, quizzes and live music nights.
Being forced to adapt their business for Covid-19, the couple raised more than £170k through a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign in April which has enabled them to not only survive, but thrive. And now they have their sights set on the international markets.
Sunday Brunch, presented by Tim Lovejoy and chef Simon Rimmer, is screened on Channel Four 9.30am-12.30pm on Sunday.
Napton Cidery is open Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 12-5pm.
Visit Napton Cidery here