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Back room brew wows cider fans
NICK Howard started making cider for friends by pressing apples with a few bits of old wood and a car jack.
But when he was made redundant from his IT job almost a year ago he decided to step up production of his Circle Cider, named because it is made in the back room of his family home in Pinehurst – just off The Circle.
The 30-year-old father-of-two, who has since got another job, went from producing 200 litres to about 6,000 litres this year from an investment of £6,000.
And he has taken his drink to shows and events across the region.
“It started with just me and a friend making a press from a few bits of wood and a car jack,” he said.
“And the cider tasted awful. But when we got down to the last three litres it started to taste quite nice and then the second batch came out a lot better, as did the third. “We broke three jacks and so I bought a press which was a bit more industrial.
“My wife wasn’t too happy when the kit arrived.
“I’d told her what I was going to do but I don’t think she expected it to be as big as it was, seeing as it was going in the back room. But she’s supportive.
“Fortunately, it has done well – I took it to the Bath and West Show and made quite a few sales and I’m looking to do a few more shows as well as getting it in some pubs.
“People seem to like it – all my friends have tried it and even some non-cider drinkers thought it was nice. “It was good to be offering something slightly different – it’s definitely got its own flavour.
“People’s tastes have changed. We started off with the sweet but now it’s more the dry ones, although I make about two-thirds medium because they sell better than anything else.”
The brew, which has been described as quite different to other West Country efforts, has proved so popular Nick has even had repeat orders from one pub – the Tap and Barrel, in Manchester Road – while the Jolly Huntsman, in Kington St Michael, also stocks it.
“The landlord of the Tap And Barrel has eight or so apple trees in his garden and he said I could go and pick them,” Nick said.
“That sort of brings the cider full circle too, which is nice.”
Nick is hoping to get his own premises eventually and said he was looking to increase production next year, although he ran out of apples this year.
Anyone who has spare apples or who is interested in stocking Circle Cider can contact Nick on email@example.com.