Husband and wife cider makers Jolyon and Charlotte Olivier made their first batch of cider, as most do, from the apple tree in their garden. Turns out they were born to be cider makers – and several years later Napton Cidery was born. It set out with the sole mission of collecting unwanted apples from the village and surrounding orchards to create amazing ciders and, before you know it, they were producing more than 150,000 liters of award-winning cider from 17 different cider apple varieties, as well as an apple juice, cider vinegar, and apple cider brandy!
What does the cider-making process consist of?
The apples are harvested and pressed in several carefully selected orchards in Herefordshire before being transported back to us. The next stage is fermentation which can take up to 9 months. The cider is then re-racked off the dead yeast, blended, and matured for a further 3-6 months and sometimes longer. Some of the cider is matured in oak, most are blended and some are selected to produce a single variety cider such as our Taproom Special Limited Edition which is made exclusively from the Katy apple variety.
What is Napton Cidery’s main USP?
Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. All of our apples come from traditional unsprayed orchards, organic and biodiverse growers, so no unnatural chemicals are introduced into the ecosystem. The cider is also naturally fermented using only wild yeasts and packaged in recyclable materials and all ingredients are sourced as locally as possible.
We prefer not to use bush orchards which are long rows of apple trees all bunched quite close together. With these, once a disease hits a tree it spreads around the whole orchard which is why they have to be sprayed with pesticides. We decided very early on that we wanted to make cider that is environmentally friendly through using apples that aren’t over-farmed.
We always use fresh juice, we never use any concentrates or artificial flavorings and we strive for a minimum real juice content of 85%. This also goes for our added fruit ciders, we only use fresh fruit juices to blend with our cider. Our No.5 blackcurrant cider is made with fresh blackcurrant juice grown and produced in the UK, we add this after the cider is done fermenting so it gives you a real blackcurrant hit!
What was the last thing you did that made you really proud?
I am proud every day I walk into the cidery as we have come a long way from a table in an old dairy unit to a lovely taproom for people to enjoy. I am proud of the dedication and passion our whole team put in!
How do you manage your time between family and business?
Family and work time are always tricky to balance but we have learned how to do this over time. My children are very understanding and help out and I find emailing my husband work-related things works better rather than always talking about it in our spare time.
But we are very passionate about our work so we like talking about it too and how we want to make each step in our business.
Who or what inspires you?
Nature inspires me and reminds me that things are ever-changing and beautiful and to take the time to appreciate each thing you see and do.
What has it been like running a business with your spouse?
We have had our ups and downs, but we learned to keep business and family life as balanced as possible, being passionate about our business keeps us focused and dedication is the key. We both have different strengths to contribute to the business which really helps bring in exciting aspects to Napton Cidery.
What are the plans for the future of the business?
We are planning to bring the remainder of our signature ciders onto draught as well as extend the popular taproom following the sell-out success of the live comedy, music, and tasting events we host.
As well as the addition of new staff, we have also invested its funds into new products, including an Apple Cider Brandy, branded glasses, and launching our cider in cans and kegs. We are now also planning to further upgrade and streamline our cider production facilities to bring more of the cider-making process in-house, which would cut costs in the long term and grant us greater control over the products.
We are continually looking to build upon our success and, over the next five to ten years we’d like to increase our cider production tenfold, to manufacturing and selling one million liters nationally.
Tell us some fascinating facts about cider
- A pint of Napton cider contains on average around 12 apples.
- We squeeze 164 apples into every 70cl bottles of apple brandy.
- A 1000-liter fermentation tank needs around 1.5 tons of apples to fill it.
- The UK has the world’s highest per capita consumption of cider, as well as the largest cider-producing companies.
Visit Napton Cidery at: https://www.naptoncidery.co.uk/