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.
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