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

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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