Cidery owners proceed with caution as they plan long-awaited summer of fun in new taproom

Cidery owners proceed with caution as they plan long-awaited summer of fun in new taproom

The owners of an award-winning cidery have pledged to limit visitor numbers to their new taproom despite finally being permitted to launch tasting tours and events there.

Planned festivals, workshops and tasting tours were abruptly cancelled on the eve of the taproom’s grand unveiling at Napton Cidery in March last year, when the first Covid lockdown was imposed.

But Jolyon and Charlotte Olivier, who lost more than £100,000 in revenue due to the pandemic, went on to launch a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year to help mount a post-pandemic recovery of their business.

Napton Cidery, Taproom, Tasting Tours
Jolyon, Charlotte and Matilda Olivier with the Taproom Special cider and Smudge the dog.

Despite an end to the Covid restrictions, the taproom, which finally opened its doors last month, is capping the numbers for the long-awaited return of The Ploughman’s & Cider Tasting Tours by up to a third.

As well as releasing a limited-edition Taproom Special cider to mark the occasion, there’s a summer of celebration in the planning at the Cidery with the launch of a new series of live events including comedy, music and cocktail nights.

Although masks won’t be mandatory, sanitiser use will be encouraged and doors and windows left open for air circulation.

Charlotte said: “We’ve been waiting a long time for this and it feels quite emotional seeing people finally coming through our doors. We were gutted that we didn’t get a chance to open the tap room last March but have spent lockdown getting it ready for our customers, plus we’re so excited to be planning events again. I think we’ll all appreciate them more than ever.”

She added: “But while we welcome so-called ‘Freedom Day’ for businesses, we are also sensitive to some of our customers’ concerns. We’re mindful of the rising numbers of cases and how people are at different stages of the journey as they tackle the lasting effects of this pandemic.

“We want our visitors to feel safe in the knowledge that we very much have their interests at heart while still ensuring it doesn’t impact on their experience with us.”

Both tasting tours are led by Charlotte who gives visitors a unique insight into the cider making process and the story behind Napton’s award-winning recipes.

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 to 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 across the Herefordshire region.

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.

The Cidery is open Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 12-5pm.

Visit Napton Cidery at: https://www.naptoncidery.co.uk/

Learn more about the Ploughman and Cider Tasting Tours at: https://www.naptoncidery.co.uk/visit-us

Previous articles: Independent Cidery launches limited -edition to mark launch of new taproom – after 14-month delay! | Chalmers News PR

Supporting campaign will help cidery beat pandemic | Chalmers News PR

Independent Cidery launches limited -edition to mark launch of new taproom – after 14-month delay!

Independent Cidery launches limited -edition to mark launch of new taproom – after 14-month delay!

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.

World Cider Day, Napton Cidery, Taproom
Jolyon, Charlotte and Matilda Olivier with the Taproom Special cider and Smudge the dog.

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 Olivier, Napton Cidery, World Cider Day
Charlotte Olivier at bar with the Taproom Special.

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

Supporting campaign will help cidery beat pandemic

Supporting campaign will help cidery beat pandemic

THE owners of an award-winning family-run cidery in Warwickshire have launched a new crowdfunding campaign to help mount a post-pandemic recovery of their business.

Jolyon and Charlotte Olivier are inviting supporters to apply for at least £40,000 in shares of Napton Cidery following the success of their first round of investment two years ago.

The eight-week campaign is central to the entrepreneurs’ plans to re-emerge from the pandemic once again robust enough to build on the early success of their business – which started life as a hobby nine years ago.

Napton Cidery, Charlotte Olivier, Jolyon Olivier, Napton-on-the-Hill

The couple were first introduced to the taste of craft cider on a family holiday to Devon. Returning home with an apple tree, they soon started experimenting in their back garden.

Jolyon said: “We made our first batch of cider, as most do, from the apple tree in our garden. Turns out we were born to be cider makers! We started Napton Cidery several years later with the sole mission to collect unwanted apples from our village and surrounding orchards to create amazing ciders and, before you know it, we’re producing 90,000 litres of cider!”

Today, an eight-strong team at Napton harvests, presses, bottles and distributes more than 90,000 litres of cider a year, using 17 types of apples from six orchards across the Herefordshire region.

They also produce limited-edition ciders and perry as well as juices, spirits and vinegars.

Napton Cidery, Charlotte Olivier, Jolyon Olivier, Napton-on-the-Hill

Exciting expansion plans were under way following the introduction of their tap room earlier this year, only to be halted by the pandemic.

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.”

The business has also been impacted by cancelled tours, tastings, cider making workshops and monthly live music events at the cidery in a year which Jolyon believes has cost them more than £100,000 in lost revenue. The focus was then forced to pivot to home deliveries.

Napton Cidery, Charlotte Olivier, Jolyon Olivier, Napton-on-the-Hill

“The business side has been hit really hard. Up to 30% of our products were sold through our events and festivals which had to stop. We had to do some crisis management and rewrote our business plans in March but we were determined to find a way through. I don’t know where we would be without the web shop’s home delivery service. We would have been in a lot of trouble,” said Jolyon.

“We were a business that was ready to grow but had its wings clipped. The funding round would not have been needed without COVID.”

But he admitted there had been one lasting positive effect on the business.

“We’re selling more directly to the consumer now so we’re actually getting to know our consumers a lot better. And it’s helped small businesses come together and help each other out.”

Napton Cidery, Charlotte Olivier, Jolyon Olivier, Napton-on-the-Hill

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.

Jolyon said: “We prefer not to use bush orchards which are long rows of apple trees all bunched quite close together. With these, once a disease hits a tree it spreads around the whole orchard which is why they have to be sprayed with pesticides.

“We decided very early on that we wanted to make cider that is environmentally friendly through using apples that aren’t over farmed.

“Environmental sustainability is one of our top priorities and we’re always looking into how we can improve. We have a lot more ideas we’re also working on. Our goal has always been to build, manufacture and sell high quality cider made in the most natural way possible.”

Napton Cidery, Charlotte Olivier, Jolyon Olivier, Napton-on-the-Hill

The challenges of the pandemic have not grounded Jolyon and Charlotte’s ambitions who, armed with their newly acquired spirits licence, plan to produce a new line of apple brandies to their repertoire within the next 18 months.

In the short term though, as well as juggling the demands of home-schooling their two children, aged eight and five, the couple have set their sights on a gentle period of regrowth and recovery for their business. This starts with the new investment opportunity, without which they admit, some tough decisions would have to be made.

“Our first crowdfunding campaign two years ago raised £148,000 which allowed us to expand, rebrand our products and bring staff on board. This new campaign is about sustaining growth. If we didn’t do this we would be having to make some cutbacks which would stunt that growth,” said Jolyon.

“It is a very good time to be helping out local businesses if you can. We have some great rewards available to our investors. There is no better time to get involved with Napton Cidery, we have an exciting future ahead of us.”

Further investment information and registration of interest form are available by visiting: https://www.naptoncidery.co.uk/investment

Napton Cidery’s products can be found at: https://www.naptoncidery.co.uk/shop