8 Cider producers in Somerset you should know about
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Start in North Somerset and head south through cider-making country to find the cider farms and breweries turning apples into Somerset’s favourite drink – from draught and scrumpy to single variety ciders
Wrington, North Somerset. 01934 863963
Established back in 1978, Butcombe Brewery is capable of producing around 50,000 barrels of beer per year. In addition to beer, Butcombe make the dry golden Ashton Press Cider and the traditional cloudy Ashton Still. Visitors to the brewery can take a tour and visit the on-site Brewery shop – boasting three beers on draught and cider on tap.
Mudgley Somerset 01934 712385
Practically a Somerset celebrity, Roger Wilkins claims his family have been producing proper traditional cider from their farm “for nigh on 1,000 years” or so it seems. The CAMRA award-winning cider is sold from barrels in the cider barn of Roger’s working farm – you can even buy a traditional stoneware flagon to drink it from.
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Street, Somerset. 01458 442367
The Hecks family have been making traditional Somerset farmhouse cider in Street for six generations, since 1840. The sweet, medium or dry ciders are made with a blend of juice grown nearby in the farm’s orchards, before being fermented in wooden barrels and sold draught from the wood.
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Martock, Somerset 01460 240 782
With some of the largest orchards in the west, growing more than 40 varieties of vintage cider apples, Burrow Hill have been making cider at Pass Vale Farm for over 150 years. Visitors to the cider house will discover cider and Somerset Cider Brandy to sample amongst the oak vats, barrels and presses. In addition to cider brandy, Burrow Hill produces a range of ciders ranging from good old scrumpy to the more refined Black Bottle Fermented Sparkling Cider.
Dating back 1868, Wilcox Cider, based Cheddar Gorge, use traditional methods to create their range of ciders. The Wilcox ciders are made from the apples, such as Pink Lady, Dabinett, Tom Putt and Pig’s Snout among others, that are grown in Somerset orchards. In 2010 they were Winners of the Royal Bath and West show for their Sweet traditional farmhouse Cheddar.
Ben Crossman has been making cider at Mayfield Farm since 1977 – although the skill has been in his family for far longer, his grandfather produced traditional farmhouse cider from his farm in Kenn, North Somerset until the 1960s. After gathering fruit from the two main orchards, packed with a variety of apples, Crossmans cider is stored in 80-100 year old oak barrels on the farm in Hewish.
Bradford-on-Tone, Somerset 01823 461233
Farming at Three Bridges Farm, near Taunton, since 1917, three generations of the Sheppy family have embraced the life of farming and cider making. The longest-serving member of staff is Orchard Manager Martin Studley who has been with them for 35 years, since he was 16. Visitors are encouraged to take farm walks in the orchards, of which there are an impressive 55 acres of cider apple trees. Sheppy’s produce a number of cider varieties, from the traditional Oakwood cider to the more unusual Cider with Honey.
West Bradley, Somerset 01458 851222
The Orchard Pig brand was born out of a shared passion for great food and Old Spots – the original orchard pigs – and an accidental discovery that home-grown apples make the best tasting cider. Chiefly made using apples scrumped from Somerset orchards, The Orchard Pig Cider company produce lightly sparkling ciders from a mix of over 10 varieties of hand-graded apples, harvested from unsprayed and naturally maintained orchards.
Which is your favourite cider produced in Somerset? Have your say and tweet us @NSomTimes
If you prefer real ale to real cider then check out the Top 5 real ale pubs in North Somerset.