Since the age of fifteen, Angus Whitehead has been making the most of the fruits of his garden. Guided by recipes handed down through generations, many experiments were created using all sorts of soft and hard fruit – the airing cupboard was never the same again!
One year the apple and pear crop was so good that over 200 gallons of cider was produced. Angus realised the cider was better than any wine he’d made in previous years and this unusually strong cider is still renowned to this day for its longevity and quality.
The hobby grew for a few more years until it was time to think seriously about the future. Small-scale production developed with a local cider company but within a short time Angus saw the potential growth opportunities and decided to go it alone.
Over the autumn of 2003, dedicated plans were made, machinery equipment and vessels purchased and 60 tonnes of apples pressed. Whilst the apple juice turned into cider over the winter, accreditations and licenses were obtained, new contracts made and Farmers’ Markets booked.
As the spring came to break 50,000 litres of cider was almost ready to be received by the good and the great – but not before intense and rigorous testing in the most harsh and punishing conditions – the local pub!
Almost all the apples and pears Mr. Whitehead’s Cider Company use are grown on the south-east facing Hampshire Downs of the neighbouring Blackmoor Farm Estate in Selborne, one of the most respected growers in the south of England. The amount of varieties grown has allowed Angus to create some new and interesting blends, whilst using old and traditional methods to make special ciders throughout the strength range.
Outlets are becoming plentiful – pubs, shops, brewers and off-licences, not to mention Farmers’ Markets. Mr. Whitehead’s Cider Company will be at over 100 events throughout Hampshire and the south of England in 2008. Here you’ll be able to sample three different ciders at any time and as the seasons progress, the range of drinks will subtly change and grow.
We’re pleased to announce our Perry “Midnight Special” (5.0%) has been awarded the Bronze Medal in the CAMRA National Cider and Perry competition 2006 at the Reading Beer Festival. This is added to our list of winners from as far and wide as London and Yorkshire beer festivals!!!
Also at the 2006 New Forest Show we were named “Hampshire Drinks Producer of the Year”, awarded by Hampshire Life Magazine.