Pip pip hooray for local cider business


Ruston Parva resident Marc Cole has long enjoyed sampling different ciders from around the world.

Inspired by his knowledge and driven by his passion for producing “real” cider, Marc decided to set up his own cider-making company along with businessman Chris Chapman.

Now he’s organising a special cider event with its roots in anient history.

In 2014, Marc set up “Eastgate Consulting”, a regeneration and economic development consultancy business. and made the decision to develop his cider-making hobby into a commercial enterprise.

He said: “My business partner Chris Chapman and I decided to set up the “Colemans Cider Company”, a business focused on making high-quality craft cider and apple juice.

“The decision was prompted by our passion for cider-making, along with the increasing popularity of the drink and the currently limited number of local producers. There seemed to be a gap in the market which we’re keen to fill.”

Marc and Chris had been producing cider five years now.

“We started on a very small scale, just making a few gallons,” he explained. “Things have grown significantly since then. In 2014 we made almost one-hundred gallons of cider, all using locally-grown desert, cooking and crab apples, as well as specialist cider apples from our own orchards. Indeed, we’ve had to draft in more and more family and friends over the years. Thankfully, they all seem keen to help out in exchange for a share of the cider.”

The pair have a passion for the cider-making craft, along with a desire to make something people enjoy drinking as much as they do.

“I believe that the local climate and soil type are really well-suited to growing good-quality apples. Without apples, you simply don’t have a cider and juice business. Thankfully, the trees we’ve planted over the last few years are thriving. Thus, we think we have the potential to run an award-winning craft cider business right here in the heart of the Wolds.”

Marc was born in the West Country and grew up in Somerset, so cider has always been his favourite drink of choice.

“I grew up drinking local farmhouse cider, so I’ll always have a soft spot for flat, dry, Scrumpy-styled cider,” he said.

“ However, over the years, I have tried and enjoyed a variety of different types including bottle-conditioned Brittany cider, Spanish ciders from the Asturias region, as well as vintage ciders from Somerset, Herefordshire, and Yorkshire. I think it would come as a surprise to those who have grown up drinking ciders from the big commercial companies as to just how many different types of ciders there are currently being produced across the globe. For me, the important thing is that the cider I drink is “real” cider. By that, I mean something which is made using 100% apple juice with no added sweeteners, colourings, or artificial flavourings.”

Marc said that Initially, they would be focusing on producing small batches of high-quality craft cider and apple juice. However, in addition to our fifty-plus apple trees, they also have a smaller number of pear trees and so intend to begin producing Perry as well.

“We are aiming to produce around two-hundred gallons of cider next year, but this will be dependent on the numbers of apples we can get our hands on. This is where your readers can help, as we desperately need more apples while our newly planted orchards grow to maturity. If you have an orchard, or even a single apple tree with surplus apples, please get in touch at colemanscidercompany@gmail.com or call us on 07866 551018 and we will come round and collect them from you this autumn. Alternatively, bring them to us, and we will press them for you in exchange for a proportion of your apples.”

“Colemans Cider” is currently not available to buy, but Marc and his partner will be offering the opportunity to sample it at a number of events they are currently organising in the run-up to officially launching their new range in autumn.

“In the first instance we are very keen to serve the local market, concentrating on independent pubs, clubs, off-licenses, farmers’ markets, and beer festivals. This is because we are keen to offer local people the opportunity to drink locally-produced craft cider. That said, we are already talking to a local brewery about a potential national distribution deal. £

A “Colemans Cider” Wassail Event at Ruston Parva is planned for 17 January.

Such events, which are still popular in the West Country, have ancient origins. They involve drinking toasts, making offerings to the apple trees, and chasing bad spirits away from orchards. It’s a great excuse to get dressed up and have a good time in the heart of winter.

Anyone who wishes to go along can contact Marc on the “Colemans Cider” company e-mail address. Other events currently being planned are the first annual “Wolds Cider and Sausage Festival” in March, along with a “Community Apple-Pressing Day” in October.

Marc said: “Cider-making, in essence, is a very simple process. You pick your apples in October, then you wash them before pulping them. The pulp is then squeezed in a cider press. The resulting juice is poured into fermentation vessels. Yeast is then added, and the juice is then left to ferment for between three and six months. The cider is then bottled ready to be enjoyed from March onwards the following year.”

The best way to learn more about “Colemans Cider Company” is to visit the “Facebook” page at www.facebook.com/colemanscidercompany. There you can find out more about the company, the cider, the orchards, and events.