New Shropshire cider is launched
Guests have had a first taste of a new cider brewed in Shropshire and made from apples grown and pressed on the county border.
Oldfields Orchard Cider had its official launch last night as those involved in making the locally-produced tipple a reality were invited to the farm near Tenbury Wells where the apples are grown.
The ciders - a medium sweet, a medium dry and a "Discovery cider" made with Discovery eating apples - were dreamed up in a collaboration between Hobsons Brewery in Cleobury Mortimer and orchardman Geoff Thompson, of Oldfields Farm.
Speaking at the launch, Alison Chadwick, cider product manager at Hobsons, said: "It's been quite a get together for all the people who have been involved in helping the cider get to the shop shelves.
"We've had a barbecue with sausages and sausage rolls made with the cider as an ingredient," she said.
Guests ranged from representatives from Tenbury Apple Association and Ludlow Slow Food to Richard Alsop, the trading standards officer who helped get the cider's Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) certificate that give the official stamp that the cider is produced locally.
They all got to wash their sausages down with a glass of Discovery cider, which is described as more like a wine.
Ms Chadwick said: "It's going down very well, everyone's enjoying tasting a cider made from apples which are all grown in the orchards around the farm.
"It's very much a local product and it's good to have local people here trying it."
The ciders are already on the shelves at Ludlow Food Centre, Tanners Wines in Shrewsbury and Bridgnorth and the Clockhouse in Tenbury Wells, along with a variety of other shops.
Ms Chadwick said: "In the future we'll be looking to expand the range. We're thinking now about how to progress - whether to go down the route of fruit ciders or a more traditional route like farm house scrumpy.
"But we've got a wonderful fruit press here so whatever it is will involve that press."
Hobsons has been brewing since 1993, and Mr Thompson has been supplying the brewery with hops almost since the start.
The Oldfields Orchard Cider apples are freshly pressed on the farm at Frith Common, which lies between Cleobury Mortimer and Tenbury Wells.
The ciders are only available in bottles at present, in local food-friendly shops and some pubs.
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