We set up Darley Abbey Cider in March 2016 to realise a dream of making great-tasting artisan cider using locally grown apples. For the first two years we pressed everything in our own back garden in Darley Abbey moving to a small unit off Mansfield Road in Derby last year. Unlike most other cider producers we don’t own a single tree. All the apples used to make our cider are donated from gardens, allotments and orchards across Derbyshire. It’s not a new concept, but all our contributors are given cider back in return in the spring once we bottle, depending on how many apples they contribute in the autumn.
Because our apples come from across Derbyshire, our cider contains over 40 varieties of apples. Some of the apples we use are very old local varieties and most would never make their way into a supermarket. However, using whatever nature throws at us helps create a unique flavour that we believe makes our cider stand out from the crowd.
We start collecting apples in September and press roughly every two weeks up until the start of November. Once fermented, our cider is matured over winter producing a clear crisp range of ciders the following spring. We are probably best known for our dry and sweet bottled cider and our “Crowd Pleaser” draught medium-dry cider, all of which are carbonated. However, in 2019 we decided to produce two varieties of bag-in-box still ciders, which have been very popular. One of these is a fruit cider, which has been made using a variety of soft summer fruits, picked at the same time as the apples but frozen after picking and only infused once the cider had finished fermenting.
Last year we pressed 15 tonnes of apples. Most, if not all, of these apples would have been thrown away so we have converted a potential waste product into something we can all enjoy. We also donate the apple pulp from our pressing process to local pig owners and farmers turning another potential waste product into something of value.
What we love about our cider is that each year’s vintage is unique, reflecting the terroir, summer and combination of apple varieties used in that year. But while the taste may change from year to year, our artisan approach and ethos remain the same.
CONTACT DARLEY ABBEY CIDER
2 Folly Road,