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Town cider-makers have golden touch
8:50am Friday 26th October 2012 in News
CIDER-making in Ledbury is going from strength to strength with a number of local producers capitalising on the opportunity to expand their businesses.
Westons Cider of Much Marcle is leading the way on a local and global scale by buying drinks distributor World Brands Australia and officially re-launching the historic and much-loved Gold Label cider today.
Putley-based cider maker Once Upon a Tree opened a new shop in Ledbury’s Homend Mews earlier this month and is reporting annual growth of almost 100 per cent, while the Major’s Arms at Halmonds Frome has also turned its attention to cider making.
Gold Label was retired by Bulmers in 2010 but Westons acquired the rights and restarted production, with 50 pubs across Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire set to serve it.
Brand manager Matthew Langley said businesses in Herefordshire were faring better than many others across the country, with Westons seeing high demand from both pubs and bars and supermarket trade.
“No one is going to pretend it has been a vintage year but because of the varieties in our orchards we have not been hit as hard as we feared. Bittersweet cider apples tend to be later cropping and would have missed the early frosts. We have still grown our market share and are growing within the cider business, so it’s a good story.
It’s been a tough year but everybody has had to fight a little harder.”
Simon Day, cider maker at Once Upon a Tree, said business is booming.
“Year-on-year we have grown and are making a profit – this season has been really very good,” he said.
Having been selected for the Campaign for Real Ale’s Good Beer Guide, the owners of the Major’s Arms, James Lewis and his partner Rachel Hill, have now launched their own cider.
They say Snail’s Bank Cider, which is pressed on a local farm, is already proving a big attraction.
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