What could be more refreshing that an ice cold glass of cider on a summer’s day. Just like alcoholic ginger beer, this is Apple juice for grown ups.
It was the Romans who discovered how to ferment apple juice and fast forward to the 11th century when the Normans conquered Britain, they brought their fruit-growing and cider-making expertise with them. The fertile soil and warm climate in the West Country was ideal for apple orchards. Thus, the British cider industry was born.
In 1805, in the Somerset village of Norton Fitzwarren, a farmers’ co-operative was formed to make cider which developed with great success. In 1911, Reverend Cornish, a cider maker at Heathfield Rectory and his gardener Arthur Moore, collaborated in the business and within a year they established The Taunton Cider Company.
Following The Second Wold War, Taunton Cider supplied local and regional pubs and through the 1950s and 1960s the British brewing industry developed through takeover mergers. Taunton Cider sales increased with share holders assisting the rising scale of cider production – also launching half-pint and two-pint bottles as an alternative to the traditional draught cider.
Guinness became an investor in order to create new brands of cider, venture into the off licence trade, supermarket sales and marketing with great success. by 1992 the company grew to become the second largest cider maker in the UK, producing 30 million gallons per year employing 550 people most of whom were based in the village of Norton Fitzwarren.
After a management buyout and a public floatation, Taunton Cider was taken over by Matthew Clark in 1992. Unfortunately, production at the original Somerset Mill was closed down in 1998 with the majority of loyal workers made redundant.
Somerset in the West Country is at the heart and heritage of English cider making, best known for its strong, cloudy, scrumpy ciders, dry and medium-sweet versions, the county is known for bittersweet apples creating traditional flavours from vintage cider recipes.
The good news is that The Taunton Cider Company was re-registered in 2015 by a group of cider enthusiasts setting up premises at Cutliffe Farm, Sherfor to produce a range of traditional ciders, crafted from 100% heritage apple varieties from local orchards.
“Working with the best apple growers, we harvest, press, ferment and make premium ciders with no additional concentrates. .. it’s a really natural product blended by our master cider maker. We are building our brand whilst being respectful of the history, heritage and importance of Taunton Cider in Somerset.” Jonathan Dunne, founder and owner.
Taunton Cider has partnered with Stewley Orchard which is committed to the responsibility of its conservation and the care of twenty varieties of heritage apple trees. The ecology of this Orchard is vitally important, with birds and honeybees, Roe deer and rabbits, all benefiting from the fallen fruits, wild flowers, grasses and ponds.
Cider is akin to Champagne
It’s fascinating to know that the British invented the ‘Champagne method’ for cider production well before Dom Perignon began making his superior sparkling wine in northern France!
The ‘Cider is Wine’ group is keen that British Heritage Alcoholic Drinks are given the same financial and business benefits as other drinks industries. Cider and Perry made from 100% juice (grape, apple, pear, or other fruits) should be treated like wine due to the similarities in production. The soil on which the apples are grown influence the taste – just like wine with its regional terroir.
The Taunton Cider Taste Test:
Having not sipped a Cider for many years, I recently opened a bottle of Taunton Dry cider while watching the women singles final at the Australian Tennis Open – on TV, not in Melbourne. As it’s summer there, a refreshing ice-cold cider was just the perfect tipple due to the fact that light, sparkling Cider is produced with a similar method to Champagne!
The various styles and strengths of Taunton ciders are so fresh tasting, not overly sweet but with the crisp, tart flavour of biting into a juicy apple.
Taunton Dry Original Cider, 4% ABV
Dabinett, Harry Masters Jersey and Yarlington Mill apples.
Soft sunshine gold in colour with an aroma of aged oak. Slightly dry on the tongue, smooth with a crisp, tangy apple taste. Served ice cold, this is deliciously refreshing.
Taunton Medium Cider, 4% ABV
Dabinett, Harry Masters Jersey and Yarlington Mill apples.
Warm amber shade with lightly sparkling effervescence. A well balanced blend of floral and bittersweet apple flavours then a lingering taste of smoky earthiness.
Taunton Proper Natch Cider, 5.5% ABV
“A sharp, dry traditional cider, proper Natch is made with the finest Somerset apples. A proper thirst quenching cider. “
Light amber in colour, smooth, silky texture and natural, juicy fruity taste. Ideal with food as an alternative to an IPA: think Pub grub, Sausage and mash, Veggie Burger, Fish & chips.
Taunton Longaller Mill Cider, 5% ABV
A blend of classic apple varieties, Yarlington Mill, Sweet Coppin, Improved Lambert Pippin and Tom Putt from a single orchard at Longaller Mill in Somerset, which has produced apples to make cider since the early 1900s.
A golden hued, premium, semi-dry cider with a light sparkling carbonation, smooth tasting, with a long lasting, classic apple cake flavour.
While cool, crisp and refreshing drinks sipped on their own, Taunton ciders can accompany lunch or supper, too and also use as an ingredient, in pies, cakes and add to sauces – apple is traditional with pork – and ideal with seafood.
Baked Scallop in the shell, buttered leeks, Taunton cider and Apple
Check out the recipe here. https://www.tauntoncider.co.uk/blogs/news/baked-scallop-in-the-shell-buttered-leeks-taunton-cider-and-apple
Taunton Cider Company combines traditional methods with contemporary skills for small batch, premium quality and such a pure, natural taste. This is authentic, Artisan, craft cider at its best.
“Proper Cider from Somerset”
What drinkers are saying:
“Proper apples are used and you can tell straight away. Dry crisp taste, just worried that it’s a bit moreish as only 12 in a case.!”
“Fanstastic tasting local cider from a great company. The Vintage cider is really good, 10/10.”
“It’s not easy to stop at one. This cider has become by far my favourite.”
Since their first cider was bottled in 2016, the “new” Taunton Cider Company has been presented with no less than thirty awards in the first four years of production. At the annual International Cider Challenge Trophy. the Medium received the highest accolade, the Trophy, and the Dry, Medium and Vintage varieties have also won bronze, silver and gold awards.
Taunton Cider is served at a selection of leading hospitality and leisure venues, such as Soho House and the National Trust.
Read more about the company, the range of ciders and purchase online at www.tauntoncider.co.uk