Blackmore Vale Cider was started up as a hobby about 15 years ago by Alan Berry, a retired chartered surveyor. A one man craft cidermaker, he did everything himself, from collecting the apples, milling, pressing, blending, fermenting, bottling and labelling.
His son, Mark, an aerospace engineer, has always been involved in the background including adapting a ride on lawn mower to serve as an apple collector and designing and making the cider press and apple mulcher and maintaining them.
In 2018, Mark started to take a more active role in the business as Alan enjoyed a bit more leisure time including judging at cider events in the south west.
As well as having his own small orchard, Alan sources Dabinett and Browns apples from east Somerset. In his words, "the key to making good cider is good quality apples and then getting the right blend of sweet and sharp". Sounds easy, right! Over the years, Alan has perfected the art, winning numerous awards at various events, culminating in being named Supreme Champion in the British Cider Championships in 2016.
As well as entering his cider into the British Cider Championships for the last 14 years, Alan enjoys working behind the bar at the Bath & West's Orchards and Cider tent. Alan and Mark also offer tasting events within Dike & Sons, The Cider Shack in Yeovil and both the Udder and Kimber farm shops who all stock Blackmore Vale Cider.
Cider Making Courses
If you're interested in learning how to make cider for yourself then you can book on a day's course with Alan via Empire Farm using this link