Apple County Cider Co is the creation of the award winning cider producer Ben Culpin. Ben has been producing cider for six years, during which time he has won numerous awards including Great Taste and The Welsh Cider and Perry Championships. Ben’s cider has won acclaim from chefs, critics, writers and food enthusiasts – ‘foodies’ – alike.
The company is based at Whitehouse Farm, near Skenfrith in Monmouthshire. The farm grows cider apples and blackcurrants in fields looking across the stunning landscape of the Monnow Valley. There’s a cider shop where Apple County also hold cider tasting and sell local produce; when you buy cider here you are likely to be talking to the cider-maker himself.
Apple County Cider produces premium award winning single variety ciders made from 100% apple juice, using varieties such as Dabinett, Vilberie and Brown Snout. Apples are harvested from their orchards and pressed on the farm. The bottled ciders are lightly sparkling; the still cider is straight from the vat and known as ‘Naughty Horsey’. Simply Scrumptious!
We supply our cider to pubs, bars, off licences and independent retailers.
We attend various food and drink festivals so please come and see our pop up cider bar at a festival near you. We are happy to cater for weddings, parties and BBQ’s.
To celebrate National Apple Day we host our own Apple Day event close to the 21st October each year. We set up a vintage cider press at the Village Hall and invite everyone to bring their apples and pears and put them through the press.
September 2016 Update
Celebrating the very best in food and drink, Great Taste, the world’s most coveted blind-tasted food awards, has reached its grand finale for 2016. The Great Taste Golden Fork for the best food or drink in Wales was presented to Monmouthshire-based Apple County Cider Co for its Dabinett Medium Cider, made from dabinett bittersweet apples. “Gaining its grip from the tannins as opposed to acidity”, judges described this as a very “quaffable” cider with a “wonderful apple juice centre”.
Out of 10,000 products entered into Great Taste 2016, the Apple County Dabinett Medium Cider was celebrated as the best tasting product in its region at the Great Taste Golden Forks Dinner held on Monday 5 September at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, where over 300 guests from the world of fine food gathered to hear the results of many months of rigorous judging.
Contact: Stephanie Culpin at Apple County Cider, +44 (0) 1600 750835, www.applecountycider.co.uk.
The Golden Fork from Wales was sponsored by Food and Drink Wales and also nominated this year was Great Taste 3-star award-winning Bodnant Traditional Welsh Caerphilly from Conwyn-based Bodnant Welsh Food and Hilltop Honey Raw Thyme Honey made by Hilltop Honey in Caersws, Powys.
What is Great Taste?
Great Taste, founded in 1994 and organised by The Guild of Fine Food, has judged over 110,000 products in the last 22 years; each one has been blind-tasted by a team of judges who are dedicated to finding the most exquisite tasting food and drink regardless of branding or packaging. This year’s final judges included TV chef and author, Valentine Warner, MasterChef judge and restaurant critic, Charles Campion, fifth generation baker, Tom Herbert from Hobbs House Bakery, food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols and Waitrose, James Golding, chef director of THE PIG Hotels, and Kevin Gratton, chef director of HIX Restaurants, who together re-judged the 3-star winners to agree on the Top 50 Foods, the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste Supreme Champion for 2016.
Great Taste 2016 facts
- 10,000 different products entered (Great Taste entry is capped at 10,000)
- Over 400 food and drink judges
- Judging took place across the UK and Ireland, including many sessions at the Guild HQ in Gillingham, Dorset, as well as several other Dorset venues
- This year’s Great Taste Roadshows saw Great Taste judged at Fulham Palace in London, Hotel Minella in Clonmel, Tipperary and Belfast Metropolitan College’s Titanic Quarter Campus
- 3,539 products awarded 1-, 2- or 3-star awards
- 141 awarded a 3-star
- Top 50 Foods announced in The Times on Saturday 6 August 2016
- EIGHT Golden Fork Awards for best regional food and drink
- ONE Supreme Champion
What are Great Taste judges looking for?
Above all they are looking for truly great taste. Yes, they take into account texture, appearance and of course quality ingredients; they like a good aroma, a decent bite to a sausage, a smooth lemon curd, crunchy rich pastry, but everything comes back to the taste. Is it really, truly great?
July 2016 Update
New Fruit Cider at Apple County Cider marks official start of summer
Celebrating summer, fruit and cider with New Fruit Cider at Apple County Cider including very special summer fruit cider…
This is always an exciting time of year in Apple County Cider. After more than 6 months slowly developing and maturing, the cider has mellowed and rounded and is finally ready to drink and enjoy!
We load the cider vats onto a lorry and send them off to a local company who bottle it up for us. The cider comes back to us as thousands of clinking bottles, all labelled up and ready to go for another year. It’s a great feeling when we get them back on the farm. And for us, it marks the official start of summer.
But this year we have special reason to be excited. As we welcome 3 new ciders to our range.
NEW Yarlington Mill
This sparkling medium sweet cider quickly gained a cult following when we last made a small batch. So we’re thrilled to bring it officially into the Apple County range this year.
The flavour is the most wine-like of all our ciders. We’ve made it using 100% freshly pressed juice from locally grown bittersweet Yarlington Mill apples. This vintage variety brings a distinguished character to the cider. A rich brandy aroma is followed by a deep mellow flavour with a creamy finish.
We recommend enjoying this medium sweet cider with a creamy soft cheese like a lovely ripe Perl Wen. But you can also use it to great effect in place of white wine in your cooking. Try it in the fabulous Chicken Normandy recipe at Number 7 in our Best Cider Recipes post.
NEW Summery Fruit Cider
Nothing beats a long cool draft of real cider on a blue-skied summer day. In Apple County, we think all things summer are enhanced with a splash of cider; whether picnics by the Monnow, watching Wimbledon on the TV, even BBQ’ing in the rain! With the right cider in our glass we bring our own sunshine!
And yet as cider-makers, we are conscious that cider apples are the fruits of autumn, gathered in long after summer days were left behind. So to create a cider to really celebrate and taste of summer, our thoughts turned to summer fruits and produce.
We wanted to naturally enhance the heady fruit flavours we know and love in great cider, adding pure juice without compromise on quality. The result is a re-imagining of what fruit cider could and should be. By blending a real cider base with just the right amount of pure Raspberry or Rhubarb juice, we’ve created a drier and uniquely sophisticated drink.
So for a delicious taste of summer from Apple County, try:
Real Cider with Rhubarb
We’ve blended just the right amount of rhubarb juice from a local grower with our sparling 100% juice cider. Rhubarb brings a nostalgic flavour and a delicious tart edge to this refreshing medium fruit cider. Serve well chilled with slices of strawberry.
Real Cider with Raspberry
With pure raspberry juice from local growers, this fruit cider is dry and flavoursome and makes a refreshing treat for the grown-up palate. We recommend serving well-chilled in a stemmed glass. Add frozen berries if you serve to impress.
These 2 new fruit ciders are medium sweet so make a good choice to accompany fruity summer desserts. Only they are too good to wait until dessert before opening a bottle! Freshly loaded on our online shop and available at an introductory 10% discount for a limited time only!
We hope your summer plans include plenty of occasions to relax, enjoy some sunshine and pop open a bottle of cider or 2. But rest-assured that with a glass of our new fruit cider and a big bowl of strawberries, you can enjoy a taste of summer whatever the weather!
September 2015 Update
Golden Fork from Wales announced
Watch 60 second video review by Nigel Barden
The Great Taste awards celebrates the very best in food and drink. The Great Taste Golden Fork for the best food and drink from Wales has been presented to Apple County Cider Co based in Newcastle, Monmouthshire, for its Vilberie Medium Dry Cider. This lightly sparkling single variety cider is made from 100% Vilberie bittersweet cider apple juice and demonstrated a “good balance of sweet and dry”. The “grown up” cider’s carbonation and level of tannins drew much praise from the judges, who also enjoyed its “clean, crisp and refreshing taste”.
Out of 10,000 products entered into Great Taste 2015, the Vilberie Medium Dry Cider was celebrated as the best tasting product in its region at the Great Taste Golden Forks Dinner held on Monday 7 September at The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, where over 300 guests from the world of fine food gathered to hear the results of many months of rigorous judging.