The region’s first Cider brand has been established by local winery, Merilba Estate (Shaun & Kassy Cassidy) and The Vino Geek (Sam & Kylie Watson). Our focus is on producing a handcrafted and boutique product that the region is proud to support …
Why start a cidery?
People may or may not know that the cider making process is extremely similar to wine. As we’re all immersed in the wine industry, there was a great fit for a cider to be made. Apart from hearing non-stop why a local cider isn’t in existence, we (Sam & Kylie) are big cider fans, so why not make a cider that we love to drink! We’re obviously going to have to compete against the big producers, but we’re confident that people will support a local cidery … and be proud to!
What makes your cider unique?
Unlike a lot of the big-brand ciders, we aren’t using imported apple concentrate. We use fresh, juicy apples only! What does this mean? Well, to put it simply, you can actually taste the apples. The cider is produced locally, is handcrafted, and is bottle conditioned. This means we carbonate the cider using a traditional method in the bottle, giving it a great taste and fizz. Yeah, this takes more time, but our focus is on producing a premium product, and no amount of time should compromise this. Our first will be a Cloudy Cider, which has a crisp and clean taste and is great in a cold glass over ice.
When will the first batch be released?
The first batch of cider is almost ready to go and should be available to the public late January/early February. It actually takes longer for us to complete a batch than we potentially could, due to the hands-on approach of bottling, along with the bottle carbonation requiring at least a couple of weeks. Call us crazy, but we’d like to keep it this way for as long as we can. While it certainly is hard work, it allows us to ensure we’re absolutely happy with each batch prior to releasing it.
Where can we get it?
The home of New England Cider will be at Merilba Estate’s Cellar Door, located on the Kingstown Road. There’ll also be plenty of retailers around the New England and surrounding areas. As we produce more batches, we’ll be able to distribute the cider further abroad to pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés throughout New South Wales and Southern Queensland. The response we’ve had from retailers has been phenomenal!
How will this help the region?
The New England was a well renowned fruit growing region in the past, and we want to get it back this way. While we’re already in touch with fruit growers in the area, what we’d love to do is utilise some of the old orchards throughout the wider New England region. If you have an orchard on your property, or know of someone that does, get in touch with us. We would love to come and have a look at it and give it a purpose again! We’re also aiming to get the name of the New England out there further, as a great producer of boutique products and produce.
What’s next for New England Cider Co?
We’ve got plenty in the pipeline at the moment. We’re planning on expanding the range to include a pear cider, alongside some limited batch ciders. We can’t give away too much, but we’re keen to give New Englanders a taste of some experimental cider, sure to be like nothing you’ve ever tasted before! There’ll also be plenty of events happening around the place, including an official launch party at the Merilba Estate Cellar Door.
How can everyone keep updated?
Check us out online – www.newenglandciderco.com.au and find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We can’t wait to bring you the first local cider!