Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Not written for a while so apologies to my 372,000 followers.  We've been busy making serious inroads into Powys and various other regions recently.  I'm happy to report that our cider is now available in the Coach and Horses pub in Llangynidr and the Bridge Cafe in Brecon with more new venues to follow.  We are now seriously up and running with our Bag in Box cider and our Mini Kegs.   Recent takers include the Bunch of Grapes Pontypridd and the Bridge at Michaelchurch.  It's been great to see that all our hard work on the 'straight from the vat' cider is paying off with some good feedback so far.  We paid special attention to the filtering process this year and have achieved a lovely golden colour with only mild cloudiness and definitely no bits!
Apparently the Gulf Stream is finally moving North to where it should be so hopefully we will get some serious cider weather in the next couple of months.
I just completed my first 100 mile cycle ride as part of the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling's 'Tour of the Brecon Beacons' sportive.  It was pretty tough I can tell you, especially for a non club affiliated casual cyclist like yours truly.  But the main thing I'm proud of is that despite three of the most serious mountain climbs to be found in the whole of South Wales, I actually managed to stay in the saddle the whole way up all of 'em!  Great if not taxing day out, and good preparation for my John O'Groats to Land's End cycle ride in September...

see you at the cider bar


Friday, 29 June 2012

The rain is helping the chances of there being a decent apple crop this year.  This is good, though we need sunshine too for obvious reasons.  We've received some proofs of some Ty Gwyn Cider beer mats so this is another exciting landmark for us.  Some branded pint glasses should be on the way too, though after a great meeting with our friend Nick Phillips landlord of the Bridge in Kentchurch, we've learned that they must be nucleated.  This doesn't mean they are approved for use in the canteen at Sellafield, merely that they have some etching on the bottom inside of the glass which encourages the bubbles in the cider.

In other news I cycled 64 miles last weekend in a sportive held at Eastnor Castle.  I can report that the climb from the plain below Malvern to the very top of the Malvern Hills is a fairly brutal one.  I needed a large amount of cider to recover from that one I can tell you...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Hi Cider Fans!

Sorry it's been so long, there's no real excuse for not writing except to say that thankfully we've been pretty busy on the cider front with orders pouring in from all four corners of the country.  The Jubilee weekend was a huge success with particularly honourable mentions going to Stedman Brothers Events in Newport who took massive amounts of our cider to the Hay Festival and also to the Ty Coch Inn on the beach at Porthdinllaen in Gwynedd who have been selling so much of our cider that they need individual pallets delivered straight to their cellar door.  A final big shout goes to the Orchard Press Cider Company who have been ordering similarly large amounts to sell to cider-starved Londoners via their excellent stall at Greenwich Market.  We've had a serious enquiry about exporting our cider to the States which I know will be very difficult but if there are potential Ty Gwyn fans there then we'd love to try getting some to them.

We've finished racking off, the secondary malo-lactic fermentation having taken place (speak to my brother Ben about this), and the cider is all ready to go off to our bottling plant in the Forest.  We've held back plenty of vat cider to fill our Bag in Boxes and Mini Kegs which will hopefully sell like hot cakes.  We've got a large number of pubs interested in the Bag in Box cider so we've had some pump clips delivered.  Can't wait to see Ty Gwyn Cider proudly on the bar on a handpump next to the brewing giants of this world...

We had a visit from renowned drinks journalist Pete Brown who seems to like our cider very much and we are looking forward to his book on UK Cider with great anticipation.  We're all signed up for the Abergavenny Food Festival for the fourth year running and we are also going to have a stall at the Monmouthshire Show on the 30th August.  Please check our website for details of more festivals and events over the Summer. 

See you at the bar!


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Welsh cider guide

Recently we were joined by Pete and Bill who are putting together a guide to Welsh cider complete with a high standard of photography, handled by Bill.  Pete is the reason we were recently mentioned in a Guardian piece entitled 'A Brief Guide to UK Cider', which we were very happy about.  Pete and Bill have to spend the whole Summer going around Wales visiting all the cider makers and tasting their ciders.     I can't wait to see the results it should be a great book.  In other news, our 'straight from the vat' cider is probably a week or two away from being decanted into barrels for consumption, quite often during the plethora of small cider festivals that take place over the Summer at many local pubs.  The Star Inn in Llansoy, which is the CAMRA Welsh country inn of the year 2012/13, rang up to order some of our cider, as did the Tavern Inn near Leominster.  Other pubs to take our cider recently are the Bridge at Kentchurch, a lovely pub run by Nick Phillips in a fantastic riverside setting.  We're also in another Bridge, this one at Michaelchurch, run by Glyn and Gisela.  Another gorgeous setting, miles off the beaten track in the Golden Valley region.
Oh, and our mini kegs have arrived.  We purchased these from our friend Ed who runs the Kingstone Brewery in Tintern, makers of extremely fine ales.  We're very excited as they look fantastic, as well as holding about ten pints of cider.  We think they'll be a hit!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

It's all go here!  Just been on the phone to Tyrell's crisps near Hereford about getting some of their produce for the cider shop.  I've got to send them some samples just in case one day there's any possibility of doing Ty Gwyn Cider flavour Tyrell's crisps!  It's marketing gold...
We're selling some delicious local ice cream made by a great local company Kelsmor Dairy and we're also selling Kingstone Brewery's delicious beer made in Tintern.  So at the moment the story is of local businesses all helping each other which is great.
We made 'The Hotel Inspectors' Alex Polizzi's 'Little Black Book' in the context of a review of the Bell which was excellent news. 
I've been to Aldbourne in Wiltshire on a sales trip and got our cider into the Crown by the duckpond there.  Aldbourne is a picture postcard Wiltshire village that was home to the US 82nd Airborne division in the run up to D-Day.  We also sell our cider in the village Post Office and deli run by a charming lady called Sue.  Aldbourne is well worth a visit.  We're also just about to deliver some cider up to the Medcalf Bar in Exmouth Market, London which is great news.  My brother Ben and his wife Stephanie returned form a trip to Abersoch in North Wales having sold a huge amount to the great local pubs and restaurants there.  More details to follow.  Our website has been refreshed and is open for business at info@tygwyncider.co.uk
See you at the cider bar...

Friday, 13 April 2012

Weather patchy, cider not!

We've taken the covers off some of the cider and are debating whether to take the remaining covers off would be to invite a serious frost.  We'll see.  It's pretty gorgeous today and the shop is looking great.  I've put bottles on shelves, bottles in crates, bottles on tables and press cuttings on walls.  Mum's going to make some blackcurrant coulis which we are thinking of branding Ty Gwyn Blackcurrant Coulis, inventively enough.  We should get some local honey and wool in any minute too.  Ben tasted the cider the other day, as it's been bubbling away for about five months now and said it tasted delicious.  But he sealed it back up before I could get my hands on any of it. 

I'm thinking of riding a section of the Monmouth and Brecon canal on my bike at some stage this weekend, if the weather holds and we are not too busy over the weekend.  Which of course we could well be! 

In other news, we've apparently got a great mention in one of Alex Polizzi's guides which is fantastic.  Always lovely to get a really positive mention from people who's business it is to get nice stuff into their own hotels and restaurants.  I've written her a letter to see if she'd like to take our cider into any of her hotels so we'll see. 

Ben's off to Abersoch this weekend and seeing as the place seems to be chock full of decent pubs and restaurants we've packed him off with lots of samples.  Fingers crossed Abersoch will soon be another flag on the Ty Gwyn campaign map...

see you at the bar...


Sunday, 8 April 2012

Re-launch of our cider shop and other exciting developments

It seems as though we've spent most of our time either down at Pontrilas sawmill or covered in paint as we re-vamp our wonderful cider shop.  We've been busy making signs so our punters don't get too confused as they leave the beaten track for our little cider set up deep in the beautiful Monnow Valley.  For anyone travelling on the Hereford to Abergavenny road, an amazing breakfast doorstep sandwich can be yours for only £3 complete with black pudding, fried eggs, bacon and sausage plus real Heinz ketchup.  Of course my excuse for consuming such a mid morning snack is that I ran the Forest of Dean Half Marathon and then undertook a thirty mile round trip cycle ride to the Forest of Dean the very next day.

The long and the short of it is that our cider shop is up and running after a facelift, but looking more inviting and organised without losing any of its rustic charm.  We've built a nice wall, painted it sparkling white and put up some new shelves on which to display our range of cidertastic products: poly barrels, mini kegs, bottled cider, you name it, we're displaying it proudly and selling it!  Honey to follow shortly, maybe even some bric a brac we found in the potting shed.

We're gearing up for another great Summer of cider, why not come and see us for a sample of what we do...