Oliver’s Fine Cider & Perry makes a selection of Herefordshire and Three Counties ciders and perries fermented by wild yeasts in small batches using freshly pressed fruit with minimal intervention.
Its founder, Tom Oliver, believes in “taking what the fruit gives” and, as such, relies more heavily on handpicked fruit that is unsprayed and, instead, chooses to use the “earth’s natural resources” compared to so many of the ciders available elsewhere in the UK.
Speaking exclusively to Drinks Maven, Oliver reveals “there is a huge opportunity for aspirational ciders, trying to make cider as good as it can be, not just settling for what sells in the supermarket.”
“Over the last 18 years Oliver’s has really tried to make the best ciders we can with the fruit that we have. We have gained a reputation for making great, characterful balanced ciders with a degree of cutting edge and invention,” he explains, stating that there is an craft cider movement beginning, but reminds how its emergence and progression is gradual and steadfast, rather than speedy or obvious.
“The ‘hare’, craft beer, can buy ingredients in batches and create superb beers in a matter of weeks. Cider is the ‘tortoise’ of the fermentation world, at its peak, extolling the virtues of apple varieties, the season, terroir and the skill of the cider maker and blender,” says Oliver, hinting at cider’s virtues being its natural sophistication and alignment with food and the preservation of nature and not its ability to just put drinks out there with haste.
“We have a drink of great complexity or simplicity that celebrates the joy and pleasure of the countryside and food. The fervent world we inhabit will give its high teeth for some of this ‘crafted’ cider and to share what we, as cider makers, already enjoy,” says Oliver, suggesting anyone interested in excellent drinks should seek it out.
Where to buy Oliver’s Cider & Perry:
Restaurants: Lyles, London; Birch, Bristol
Bars: Small Bar, Bristol; Beer Revolution, Hay
Pubs: The Salutation at Ham, Berkeley; The Crown, Woolhope
Bottle shops: Clapton Craft, London; The Hereford Beer House, Hereford
Shops: Three Counties Cider Shop, Ledbury
Tourist attractions: The Cider Museum, Hereford
Services: The Tebay and Gloucester Services on the M6 and M5