How we started makeing cider

Its a classic tale of how one mans dream of a quiet early retirement after 30+ years hard work gets turned on its head by his son.

Back in 2010 Richard had an Idea, plant 9 apple trees, selected either by there vintage cider quality, or silly name. Once planted he would use his woodworking skills to make a simple basket press. The goal was to make enough cider to keep him happy until the following pressing season.

A not very short-cut

With the trees planted and the apple harvest due, all that was left was to make the wooden disk that would sit inside the press.

With two options available Richard decided on a shortcut, turn a 4 inch thick square board into a circle using a lathe. Not put off by the tool rest not reaching around the wood he would 'freehand' the chisel and get the job done in a jiffy.

First contact was made between chisel and wood, second contact was between chisel and Richards ankle. 3 days in hospital and six weeks unable to walk later, apple season was over for another year without an apple being pressed.

Start of a company

The following year there was a bumper apple crop and we had all the equipment ready. In total we produced over 350 litres of cider.

Inspired by watching BBC's The Apprentice, Scott took  some samples to the Blue Bell, Halkyn (a regular CAMRA cider pub of the year winner) The landlord agreed some of them were good and was interested in buying some.

Richard found out about the change in his retirement plan when he recieved a letter from HMRC thanking him for registering as a cider producer.

So each year the orchard gets a little bigger and the amount of cider we produce increases. It still feels like a hobby, just on a larger scale than first planned.

Richard & Scott Johnson

How it all began!