Owners of family-run Napton Cidery in Warwickshire have unveiled plans for the expansion after a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign exceeded its targets by more than 400%.
Jolyon and Charlotte Olivier are growing their award-winning Napton Cidery after selling more than £170,000 worth of shares in just two months.
The couple launched a £40,000 campaign in January to aid their post-pandemic recovery, but have been overwhelmed by the response from investors which now brings new jobs and expansion of their products range.
Jolyon said: “After reaching £60,000 within a couple of weeks and with seven weeks left to run in the campaign, we decided to go big or go home and set our sights on a target of £150,000 to allow us to accomplish as many things as possible over the coming year. And even that was exceeded!”
The couple were first introduced to the taste of craft cider on a family holiday to Cornwall nine years ago. Returning home with an apple tree, they soon started experimenting in their back garden.
Jolyon added: “We made our first batch of cider, as most do, from the apple tree in our garden. Turns out we were born to be cider makers! We started Napton Cidery several years later with the sole mission to collect unwanted apples from our village and surrounding orchards to create amazing ciders and, before you know it, we’re producing 90,000 litres of cider!”
Central to Napton’s growing popularity among customers is its strong sustainability ethos, from harvesting through to packaging. All of its apples come from traditional unsprayed orchards, organic and biodiverse growers, so no unnatural chemicals are introduced into the ecosystem. The cider is also naturally fermented using only wild yeasts and packaged in recyclable materials and all ingredients sourced as locally as possible.
Today the team in Napton on the Hill, harvests, presses, bottles and distributes more than 90,000 litres of craft cider a year, using 17 types of apples from six orchards across the Herefordshire region.
They also produce limited-edition ciders and perry as well as juices, spirits and vinegars.
As well as adding three new members to the team, the cidery is now set to unveil a raft of new products including a new Apple Cider Brandy, branded glasses and its cider in cans and kegs. Its Lost Apple Cider is also now available on draught in six local pubs.
Work is also being completed on renovations of dry store and fermenting unit as well as the expansion of its signage and car park.
The couple are also busily preparing for the full launch of their new tap room, more than a year later than originally planned due to the pandemic.
Jolyon recalls: “The tap room was closed before it even opened. Our licence was issued on the Monday immediately after the Government shut the pubs in March. We had been planning a big launch to celebrate. We also had six pubs lined up ready to install our kegs, all of which had to close as well. This was far from ideal.
“And we have emptied over 6,000 litres of packaged cider containers from the closure of the on trade last year which is never a nice thing to do.”
They also hope to be able to relaunch their tours, tastings, cider making workshops and monthly live music events at the cidery, falling in line with the Government’s roadmap lifting of Covid restrictions. This comes at the end of a year which has cost them more than £100,000 in lost revenue.
Jolyon added: “We look forward to bringing our tours and tasting back to full swing. Lots of exciting times are ahead.
“We have seen a massive growth in the demand for craft cider and coming up with innovative new products to meet market demands is the most interesting part of it. I can’t wait to see how the craft cider scene grows over the coming years.”