The Somerset Cider Brandy Company

At Burrow Hill apples have been grown and cider has been pressed for at least 150 years. It is the soil climate and the apple varieties which give our cider and cider brandy their unique quality. It has long been recognised that for growing apples for fermenting England has three ‘vintage’ areas: all are in Somerset; and at Burrow Hill, Kingsbury Episcopi, we are right in the middle of one, the others being around Wedmore and Baltonsborough.

Apples are the starting point for both our cider and our Cider Brandy, and at Burrow Hill we believe it is vital to know their origins. All the apples we ferment come from Somerset, and most come from our own orchards which extend to some 150 acres. We grow more than 40 varieties of vintage cider apples and the cider for drinking or distilling is made by blending these apples. The blending of the different types of fruit is the key to the craft of cider making. At Burrow Hill this is the responsibility of Tim Stoddart and Julian Temperley, who together have more than 50 years of experience of making cider.

Organic or Slow Food?
Our policy of growing apples is to use the minimum of sprays possible, often not spraying at all. We use no artificial nitrogen, which means we produce smaller and tastier apples than those grown in orchards for industrial cider. In fermenting and making cider we use traditional methods, fermenting juice in the autumn without first turning it into concentrate.
Our apples are mainly grown in our own orchards and all the apples we distil come from Somerset. The only exception is the Kingston Black apple. We search the cider world for this variety.
Somerset Cider Brandy is part of the Slow Food Movement, in our view this is more relevant to our artisan production than the current organic system, which did a grand job in the 80’s but has not evolved to meet new challenges. Currently, ‘organic’ often means huge businesses supplying the supermarkets or goods imported by airplane from the other side of the planet at a vast carbon cost.
The Slow Food Movement has grown from its Italian roots and promotes good local products and proven safe methods of artisan production. In 2003 Somerset Cider Brandy was declared to be part of their ‘ark’. A great honour!

View the range of The Somerset Cider Brandy Company available at The Cider House.