We caught up with pioneering new cider makers Jim and Al from Pulpt Cider who are making some top quality, modern Somerset ciders.
Each month we're featuring the best of UK cider makers, to help give an insight into their cider world. This is your exclusive all-access pass to the people behind the cider, what's exciting to them and looking ahead to the future.
Meet the makers behind, 'cider for the curious drinker'
1) Where are you based? Why here?
We are based in Hewish, North Somerset. In all honesty, the location is equidistant between the two of us and allows us to carry out quality cider making in the county where we source all our apples.
2) Describe your cider co in 3 words...
Clean, Authentic, Interesting
3) What makes your ciders stand out from the crowd?
The two critical aspects of our cider that enable us to stand out from the crowd is firstly what's in the bottle, which we manage closely, from pressing to final blending. We aim to exploit the best of the apple varieties we use through the methods of fermentation and yeast types.
Secondly the brand and its personality, we are not traditional cider makers, we don't have generations of cider making in our blood - albeit we are both West Country born and raised! We focus on bringing a sense of modernity to cider, through the look and feel of the brand. This reflects our view that cider is so much more than Dry, Medium, Sweet.
4) What is the key to producing good cider/perry?
From our point of view it is about control - understanding and managing the microbiological activity as closely as possible. We are always learning and by no means experts, but this is where we feel we add the most value to the product and what makes our ciders have the distinctive Pulpt character of being clean, authentic and interesting
5) What are the most difficult challenges you face as a cider-maker?
Where do you start!!
The areas we find need the most attention are all aspects to do with running a business, you have to have many hats, that you wear every day. The challenges are also spiced up a bit through working in a category that is still in need of better consumer and trade understanding and engagement. Getting a foot in the door with the trade is not easy when so many are tied or have limited fridge space and spare taps.
But there are a number of producers leading the charge, and we have no doubt the popularity and value of cider will only grow.
6) If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
For the industry to be more future-focused, to encourage excitement, innovation and interest in the category, driving the true value of what cider can and should be.
7) Favourite apple/pear variety? Why?
Perhaps a little sentimental but Gilly is a favourite, it was the single-variety we used in our very first press, and it's also one of Jim's daughters' names!
8) How important is cider education for consumers for producers like yourselves?
If we want the cider revolution to happen we need to educate - it's the key to unlocking demand. If consumers know more about what to expect from what they are consuming, where it comes from and how it is made then they are better informed and can make better choices. One way we are trying to achieve this is through our flavour wheel. It is a simple, eye-catching way to capture graphically our ciders in more detail, rather than the age-old 'dry/medium/sweet/' descriptors that don't really tell you much. It gives a holistic view of the various flavours in each product.
9) 'The craft cider revolution is coming because...'
The demand is out there, people want better quality and something different. This isn't just in cider, but across the board, look at craft beer, or food, it's all about quality, provenance and authenticity. There are a number of cider producer out there who are committed to making the best cider for a more discerning market. At Pulpt we want to make sure the concept of quality and provenance goes hand in hand with scalability, ie we don't want to make great cider that only a handful of people can access, we want to be able to give the choice to as many people as possible.
10) What are your most excited about this year?
We have just launched our latest product - Flare, an easy-going, balanced cider that gives all the flavours you expect from a crafted cider that is accessible to all - feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We are also looking at some R&D around fermentation processes, all a bit mad professor!
11) Do you have any events planned that people can come along to and be part of?
We are planning to do a Manchester Taproom takeover - keep your eyes on our social media for more details, before the end of the year. We will also be at Chiswick Pub in the Park 6th-8th September. We are also currently planning our route map for a number of 'meet the maker' sessions across the Stable restaurants - again keep your eyes on social media for more info
images sourced: www.pulpt.co.uk
Interested in Pulpt? Enjoy 6 or 12 bottles delivered to your home.
A bar or pub? We’re excited to be one of the few cider suppliers have their new Flare on keg. www.craftynectar.trade for more.