An artisan cider-making company set up less than three years ago just outside Uckfield is proving popular in local shops and restaurants and has won top awards too.
Hurstwood Cider, which was founded by Alex and Mat Gibbins, has won Country Homes and Interiors Magazine’s My Country Business Awards, 2017; and a Bronze Medal for their Medium Cider in the British Cider Championships at The Royal Bath and West Show.
They have also been awarded one star for their Medium Dry Cider in the Great Taste Awards, widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers.
Alex said: “As well as a badge of honour, the unmistakable black and gold label is a signpost for consumers to a wonderful tasting product.”
She added that the cider pairs beautifully with salty snacks, seafood, especially shellfish, and of course the traditional pork combination.
The family business at High Hurstwood uses Kent and Sussex-grown dessert apples blended with bittersweet varieties to produce a natural sweetness and a sparkling refreshing cider.
The apples are pressed, fermented and blended, then, before bottling, freshly pressed apple juice is blended to add the sweetness.
Alex said she and Mat had always been keen home brewers and had made cider, with varying success, from any old apple from the garden trees of a family member.
Now they are in business they buy apples direct from orchards in the South East and they have developed their own cider recipe, the exact blend is top secret.
Alex added: “There are lots of really great microbreweries in the area so we thought let’s concentrate on cider.”
The first stockist of Hurstwood Cider was The Hurstwood, in High Hurstwood, and other Uckfield area stockists include Noble Wines, Five Ash Down Post Office, The Buxted Inn, The New Inn at Hadlow Down, Piltdown Golf Course and East Hoathly Village Stores.
The cider can also be found as far afield as East Grinstead, Tunbridge Wells, Lewes, Brighton and Haywards Heath. Alex delivers to them all personally.
If you would like to try Hurstwood Cider before buying you will find it on display at events including Feast Grinstead on Sunday, October 1; Cider Festival, The Crown, Hastings on Saturday, October 21; and Heffle Cuckoo Fair, Heathfield, on Saturday, November 4.
The cider will also be available at The Hurstwood Christmas Food/Drink and Gift Fair, High Hurstwood, on Saturday, November 25.