THE VIEW FROM APPLE COUNTY

Winter Warmers In Festive Flavours!

It’s been a busy time in the orchards, harvesting this year’s beautiful apples & Winter has crept up on us! Here at Apple County, Winter means our precious fresh juice is brought into the barn. But, it’s far from hibernating! It’s at this point that we add the winemaker’s yeast & it begins its slow, cold, maturing first fermentation process, for a minimum of 6 months.

Every single harvest is different in the life of a cider farm, so whilst next year’s scrumptious ciders are safely bubbling away, we can come in from the orchards and turn our attention to the wintery warmth that our cider can bring. Curling up with a good book, by the fire, with a mug of smooth, comforting mulled cider is something we look forward to every year! Continue reading Winter Warmers In Festive Flavours!

Big in Japan

Apple County launches in Japan! We are just back from a whirlwind trip to Japan travelling alongside 16 other Welsh businesses embarking on a Welsh Government trade mission.  After we struck a deal to export some of our prestigious product to Japan the Welsh Government approached us to go on the trip and of course we said yes! The mission provided an ideal platform to build on established links between Wales and Japan and discuss future export opportunities. We were very privileged by the fact Economy Secretary Ken Skates led the trip with the aim of strengthening Wales’ bonds with the country. Japan has one of the largest economies in the world, and with the interest in British and Welsh products, this was a great opportunity for our company.

Hankyu Department Store Osaka
Hankyu Department Store Osaka

 

We launched our cider at the high profile British fair at Hankyu department stores. The fair has been running for 49 years and is very well known in Japan. When people in Japan think of Britain they know England and Scotland, but very few are aware of Wales as a separate country. The Hankyu wanted to highlight the produce of Wales – the food and the crafts and also a place to visit as a tourist. Culinary attractions are at the forefront of the fair. The fair is infamous for the Japanese queuing to be the first to taste the best fish and chips from the UK http://simpsonsfishandchips.com/ , the best Welsh cakes http://www.henllanbread.co.uk/ and now cider!

Grand Hall at the fair
Grand Hall at the fair

It hasn’t just happened overnight our trip was the culmination of many months of hard work and meetings. First the buyers conducting the research and sourcing for the fair flew over from Japan and came to visit us in May. They toured the farm and sat in the farmhouse kitchen where Ben held a tasting of all of his delicious ciders and lots of photos were taken!

We were selected on the back of winning our Great Taste awards. The buyers also said they had been searching for a cider for three years and sampled over 40 and when they tasted Apple County they knew their search was over. We agreed to make our ciders in a smaller bottle 330ml to suit the petite Japanese population. Our cider took two months to reach Japan on a boat that went via China and crossed the equator.

The first part of our trip was to Osaka in the Kansai region of Japan and the second largest city after Tokyo. As soon as we landed there was no time for a lie down and we jumped on the train to Kyoto where we had several meetings and tastings.

Specialist cider bar in Kyoto
Specialist cider bar in Kyoto

The next day was the opening of the fair which attracts people from all over Japan. The opening saw large queues with many Japanese dashing through the aisles to be the first to get their hands on the British quintessential products. No one has been to hospital yet they joked! It was a great experience sampling our cider to the Japanese who all seemed to love it.

Cider bar

Next stop was Tokyo with a ride on the famous Shinkansen bullet train. A mind blowing journey crossing Japan at speeds of 180miles an hour, with views to Mount Fuji and the scenic landscape of Japan.

the Shinkansen bullet train
Shinkansen bullet train

More meetings and tastings followed with a fantastic reception from the bar owners and a business reception at the Minister Residence. I think what struck me the most about Japan was the multifaceted culture; on the one hand it is steeped in the deepest of traditions; on the other it is a society in a continual state of rapid flux, with continually shifting fads and technological development that constantly pushes the boundaries of the possible. And with a population of 39 million just in Tokyo there’s certainly no shortage of people!

dinner
Spot the tea

On the last day I managed to steel a few hours for myself or at least to go toy shopping for Francis who had spent a week at home with Daddy. We are certainly looking forward to what Tokyo will deliver for the Olympics in 2020. See you in Tokyo https://tokyo2020.jp/en/

The Awesome, Abergavenny Food Festival

It’s hard to beat the buzz of a great food festival on a sunny weekend.  And Abergavenny Food Festival would certainly take some beating! Only a little over 10 miles from our orchards, we love to see this great local town swathed in stalls and flooded with foodies.  It’s a truely premier league food festival, with over 30,000 visitors drawn from far and wide to Abergavenny for one delicious weekend.  Continue reading The Awesome, Abergavenny Food Festival

Great Taste Top 50!

For the second year in a row Apple County Cider have made the Great Taste Top 50 winner list! Last year, our Vilberie sparkling cider won a Golden Fork for the best food or drink in Wales. And we are thrilled to announce that this year, our Dabinett cider has come up trumps, and made it through to the exclusive top 50. As such, it was recently featured in The Times! Continue reading Great Taste Top 50!

NEW Limited Edition Cider to tickle your fancy

This summer we’re enjoying a little added pure fruit with our cider in Apple County.  We were very excited to launch 2 NEW 100% juice fruit ciders which have a drier, more sophisticated real flavour that stays true to the real cider base.  And now we have a very special third variant to add into the mix with a short-run initial release.  If redcurrant, and gooseberry flavours tickle your fancy, we’ve got a special summer cider treat for you.  Both the joyful combination of flavours and the name of this fruit just proved impossible to resist.

Get your laughing gear around our NEW cider with real cider with Chuckleberry. Continue reading NEW Limited Edition Cider to tickle your fancy

NEW Fruit Cider marks official start of summer!

We’re celebrating summer, fruit and cider with 3 NEW ciders including very special summer fruit cider…

This is always an exciting time of year in Apple County.  After more than 6 months slowly developing and maturing, the cider has mellowed and rounded and is finally ready to drink and enjoy!

Continue reading NEW Fruit Cider marks official start of summer!

A Golden Day at The Welsh Cider and Perry Festival

Take 90 pure juice ciders and perries. Add a generous measure of sunshine. Serve up with live music in a beautiful setting. And you have a recipe for a great cider festival!

The Welsh Cider and Perry festival is always a highlight on the Apple County calendar. And this year was no disappointment. The organisers welcomed more than 3000 cider fans over 4 days, reaching capacity early on the Saturday. The festival takes place near Chepstow within the walls of Caldicot Castle – a stunning, historic backdrop to a lovely relaxed event. Continue reading A Golden Day at The Welsh Cider and Perry Festival

Here’s to the Dads

With just a week away until Father’s Day, we wanted to dedicate this blog post to all the Dads out there.  And cider-in-hand, we’re sharing some thoughts on fatherhood and some thank yous to the Dads, including our own!  At Apple County, Ben is both cider-maker and father.  We are very proud of his achievements as award-winning cider and perry-maker but also of his role as Daddy to our son Francis. Continue reading Here’s to the Dads

DECIDERLY GOOD