The start of the cider season.

The last two weeks have been pretty crazy to say the least. On May the 5th we kicked off the cider season with the Ciderthon in Taunton. Under the crisp early morning sunshine we setup our stand in an innocuous layby near Norton Fitzwarren. Thanks to the all encompassing license I had the chance to get the PA system out, and a couple of DJ friends from Bristol came down to spin the wheels of steel in the most unlikely of locations. It was a day made great by the imagination and energy of the runners, who in not taking things too seriously made the day one which will be long remembered for it’s laughter and madness, probably one of my favourite days of ‘work’ ever!

Then the real hard work started as the days ran down to the very important Devon county show. A target we’d had in mind all winter, the aim to get our shop in order. A big ask, given the complexity of all new ciders, branding and a carbonation process and our first real step up from a day’s market trading! After 2 days however we had 5 still and 3 carbonated fruit ciders all bottled up in sufficient volumes to make a go of it. Arriving at the show to setup, we soon realised that my Mum’s garden gazebo was not quite going to provide the professional image we want to portray. A last minute dash to Sheerspeed shelters in Honiton ( sorted us out with a great quality 3x3m popup gazebo and put us back on the right track. A huge thankyou to all our helpers that weekend, you know who you are! We couldn’t do it without you and overall we exceeded our expectations for the week, and were very pleased with all the positive feedback.

Meanwhile I was running a bar at the Wells Beer and cider festival, I was placed alongside the Mallets cider bar (Brothers / Showerings) who gave me a lesson in marketing, and the hard business of mainstream cider selling. I wish them good fortune with their product, which is considerably better than some of the other mainstream ciders, produced in Somerset from actual apples and clearly the product of a lot of hard work. If you’re going to Glastonbury festival this year, I think you will find it hard not to have a pint of it thrust on you at some point! How does a small company like ours compete with such mass market appeal? It’s a question which we need to think long and hard about….

Matt Gillett