Where are you based? Why here?Broome Farm, Peterstow, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. We are a fourth-generation, family farm producing Orchard-based Cider. Our cider is a reflection of our home. It can only be made here.
Describe your cider co in 3 words...Orchard-based, Natural, Real.
What makes your ciders stand out from the crowd?As an orchard-based Cidery, the Cider & Perry we produce, which is made from whole juice and fermented with wild yeast, are true reflections of the huge range of varieties of apples and pears we grow on the farm. Our mission is solely to allow the fruit to express itself. That's why we don't add anything to our ciders - apart from priming sugar for bottle conditioning, or the necessity of back sweetening to produce a medium cider for those who demand it.
We prefer to backsweeten with dissolved sugar, rather than with apple juice or keeving, because for us those methods hide the characteristics of fermented apple juice - which are able to come out far more if there is a minimal amount of plain sugar added. The residual sugars of many different varieties tend to have far more in common than the contrasting fully fermented juice - this is also why the vast majority of our bottle range (some 60+ different bottles at a time) are Dry ciders. For us, Cider is not about being sweet, fizzy and inoffensive. It is about being bold, intense and effortlessly smooth. Truly great Dry cider is all of those things.
What is the key to producing good cider/perry?To start with ripe fruit, to aim for as high a juice content as possible - usually 99% - and to never release a product with off flavours. A clean environment and zero tolerance for air exposure are critical in producing quality cider and perry.
Share with us a 'cider fact of the day'....A seed will not grow into the same variety that produced it. That's why we're beginning our #2040project - our goal is to create a new cider variety indigenous to our farm.
What is the most difficult challenges you face as a cider-maker?Cash flow. Making cider normally takes at least 15 months, and in many cases, twice that time, and then even when you've 'sold it' you have to wait another month in most situations to be paid.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?The acceptance of 'fruit cider' as 'cider'. We have a unique perspective on Cidermaking due to the history and tradition of our farm. For me, as a young person coming into the world of cider, I recognise my responsibility not just to a sustainable business which produces cider, but also as the custodian of orchards which have been planted by my grandfather, as well as the duty I owe to preserve the varieties carefully propagated and cultivated by orchardists who came and went long before me.
I dislike Fruit Cider because it cares not - in most cases, not all - for the apple it is made from. I dream of a world where people are as interested in appreciating the taste, history and differences of a Balls' Bittersweet (perhaps the world's first crowdsourced cider apple!) and one of its parents, Foxwhelp, as they are in the latest 'mango cider'...
Favourite apple/pear variety? Why?Brown Snout. It is the most unique bittersweet apple. You know why when you taste it.
What are your most excited about this year?We launched Raison d'Être at our Cider Festival last year. It is our sincere attempt at changing the perception of Cider in the world - bringing it closer to wine, demanding greater respect for the product and packaging it in a way that an 8.4% cider must be sold. We're hoping to expand our high-end range further this year - we have already released 'C1 First Press 2018', which was a unique 200L barrel of Foxwhelp single variety which fermented in the warm September weather - naturally - in just six weeks, so we immediately bottled it and it carries the unmistakable, incredible aromas and flavours of fresh Foxwhelp. We have two more extremely limited edition bottles joining C1 in March.
Do you have any events planned that people can come along to and be part of?Every month we run 'Cider Club' at the Yew Tree. We are doing our bit to help raise the profile of Cider and celebrate fantastic producers - guest producers come to the event room at our pub and present their cider, and share their philosophy. It is a fantastic event.
We also have our third annual Cider Competition coming up, this year on July 13th. Last year we had 21 different producers with 71 entries across all categories, and we raised £700 on the day for charity, with hopefully another £300 to come as we sell the 'charity cider' on behalf of our local charity, HOPE Support Services.
And of course, the Ross Cider Festival, at the end of August. It needs no introduction!
FINALLY (complete the cider statement)
I could not live without...
I could not live without dry, tannic, bottle conditioned Cider. That is what we are about and it is who we are. If we stop making that, we won't make anything.
The craft revolution is coming because...
The Craft Cider Revolution is coming because more and more people are sincerely interested and concerned that they consume producers with accountability, traceability and responsibility at heart. That is precisely what all of our products have - they are natural representations of our apples, relying on our terroir and our honesty.