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Temperley honoured for 'lifetime achievement'

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 29, 2014

  • Julian Temperley said the cider industry has changed enormously – both in terms of the products on offer and the drinkers' expectations

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He's been called the Godfather of the cider industry and is rightly credited for having reintroduced cider distilling to England after a 300-year break.

And yesterday Somerset cider maker Julian Temperley became the latest recipient of an award he helped to set up – the Bath and West Gold Medal for lifetime services to the cider industry.

Julian received it from the Duchess of Cornwall as the cider and orchards section again proved to be one of the more popular attractions of the show.

Julian owns Burrow Hill Farm in Kingsbury Episcopi, near Martock, where he grows 40 apple varieties on 170 acres.

He began cider making more than 40 years ago but has been one of the driving forces behind the move to rehabilitate and reinvent a drink which was once looked on as little more than the cheapest route to a night in the gutter.

At the end of the 80s he started distilling, and Somerset Cider Brandy is now sold around the world.

To that he has added an apple aperitif, Kingston Black – similar in character to the pommeau produced in Normandy and Brittany – and Somerset Pomona, an apple-based alternative to a dessert wine.

And, he said, it was probably for his efforts to improve cider's image that he was nominated for the award.

"We have created ciders which have put the cider word into places it never dreamt it could go," he said.

"At the moment cider brandy is in four of the top ten restaurants in the United Kingdom.

"We are part of the cider world and we are part of a whole movement to pull cider by its bootstraps.

"Cider deserves to have some quality products that can fly the flag against the best in the world – and some of the ciders here are really world class.

"I think this is why we get an honour: for recognising that cider deserved a better future."

The industry has changed hugely since he first entered it, said Julian.

"Cider used to be the five gallon container on the bar: it was very much a farm product. The public were different then, too: if it was good cider they drank it and if it was bad cider they drank it. Things have changed incredibly.

"There are brilliant ciders out there now and people have a choice – but if they don't like something they buy something else.

"But it is still a local drink made locally from local apples. The biggest problem we have at the moment is the flavoured ciders some of which are an abomination.

"But the cider world will get over that and will return to fine ciders.

"Distilling has always been part of the cider industry – and a lot of the old boys know an awful lot more about distilling than they ought to – but it has now become very sustainable in that if we drop the baton now there are plenty of people who will pick it up."

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