A short history of Cider
Cider has a long heritage in this country & across Europe, easily dating back before medieval times. Since the 13th Century it has been well documented that cider has some great healing properties. For example, aiding in softening the skin & some even say fading freckles! In particular, cider is famous for promoting longevity as it contains natural antioxidants - similar to the benefits of good wine.
These health benefits are simply the bi-product of this great drink. In this world of ‘you are what you eat’ it’s hard not to want the best – especially when you know that quality & goodness go hand-in-hand. Here at Orchard Press Cider, we pride ourselves on this philosophy. When you demand the best – think Orchard Press!
Initially the Romans introduced cider to the Britain on a very small scale. In later years Monasteries made cider from their orchards.
However, it was the Norman conquest of 1066 that profoundly changed cider making in Britain. The Norman cider tradition goes back over a thousand years and is widely acknowledged as one of the worlds oldest.
After the Norman invasion, cider thrived but once again suffered a mighty blow with the onset of Black Death & the War of the Roses – many orchards were literally burned alive! Henry VIII in 1533 reversed this trend by ordering new trees brought in from our neighbours in Normandy!
Throughout the 17 & 18th centuries cider production stabilised but later declined due to mismanagement. There was a trend towards land being used for cattle or wheat, rather than for orchards. There’s more bad luck too…
During the 19th century, a report judged British cider as being more akin to ‘vinegar’, saying that it had a ‘roughness.’ Something had to be done! This time an official named Dr Hogg visited Normandy – bringing back varieties such as Medaille d’Or and Michelin apples: in an attempt at easing the situation at home. These apples are still grown today in Herefordshire and are well reputed.
Remember the myth that the West Country is the true home of cider? Funnily enough, although cider has a home in England that is long respected and thriving, the UK has had its fair share of misfortunes with cider making.
Today, English cider is alive and flourishing – having a unique taste that is enjoyed by many, but there is a pattern: whenever cider production suffers in the UK, help often comes from Normandy.
There is something unique about the orchards & methods there that really attracts cider drinkers the world over – especially here at the Orchard Press!
With history & culture in mind, the Orchard Press Cider Company selected these fine ciders. They are not only steeped in history & chosen from ancient lands - they also reflect civility in a bottle; unfortunately lacking in some other ciders made today.
We all know how famous our home-grown cider is, some saying that it’s the best in the world. There’s one thing here that’s always taken place: the borrowing of good ideas from other cultures and making them our own. We know a good thing when we see it. It’s for this reason why apples from Normandy were & are used here. It is this knowledge of quality with adaptability that keeps cider popular – regardless of its origin. If it’s the best then it has a place at the Orchard Press!
Orchard Press Cider Company
The company was founded last year with one aim in mind - to search out the best cider in the land. We travelled far and high, on a mission to taste the finest cider the world had to offer – it must be in Britain we thought, after all isn’t Britain the home of cider?! After travelling for absolute gallons we struck gold – finding some ciders that quite simply took our breath away! It is these ciders that the Orchard Press Cider Company specialises in - as we in the UK are simply hard-pressed to come by….until now!