Rory Souter founded the Cotswold Cider Company through his passion for our diverse native apple varieties and the orchard environment in which they grow. Both strike a chord with him in how we should appreciate our natural surroundings and how the goodness of the apple can deliver such rich and majestic flavours as cider does. He wants to help popularize ‘real’ cider using the very best bittersweet cider apples, whilst combining some personality, character and a little humour in the styles he produces.

Their Story

Rory Souter founded the Cotswold Cider Company through his passion for our diverse native apple varieties and the orchard environment in which they grow. Both strike a chord with him in how we should appreciate our natural surroundings and how the goodness of the apple can deliver such rich and majestic flavours as cider does. He wants to help popularize ‘real’ cider using the very best bittersweet cider apples, whilst combining some personality, character and a little humour in the styles he produces.

“So, the short story goes like this … man meets apple, finds fermentation, gets way too carried away with apple history and varieties, dedicates life to spreading the read cider gospel… It all started when we moved to an old Oxfordshire water mill with a few mature apple trees. Reflecting on the massive crop of apples that were all about to go to waste, I had to do the decent thing and ferment the juice – I’d caught the bug. Cracking the batch open a while later, it was soon apparent the mixed cookers and eater apples weren’t enough to satisfy my taste for the deep, rich flavours of proper cider, so there started an odyssey of searching out the real cider varieties, with all their history of centuries’ worth of propagation and cultivation that so fascinated me.

I got my first break when I was offered the tenancy of a magical cider apple orchard and soon fell in love with the seasonality of the orchard, marvelling at wonder of Mother Nature’s generosity to provide such abundant, luscious fruit. OK, I’m getting carried away here, but that the most delectable drink should come from the alchemy of fermentation from such simple fruit stopped me in my tracks – I’d found my calling.

2012 was a breakthrough year when he won Best Exhibit at British Cider Championships at the Royal Bath and West Show. From there, it was game on – There the plan was hatched, to bring real good cider to the people. Cider made properly, without the junk, that is an experience unto itself.

Sometime during the noughties, primitive Rory-Man discovers fermentation. Later, after sampling some of his good stuff in the orchard, he’s sure he gets abducted by aliens and later re-integrated into society to preach the word of… real good cider. Cotswold Cider Co starts as a hobby and NoBrainer is born. Rory takes the tenancy of a local cider apple orchard.

In 2015 Rory’s part time passion becomes a full-time obsession!

2016

Developed our draught range of Bag in Box ciders – NoBrainer Classic, YellowHammer, MuscleMary and HornBlower. Cloudy sparkling NoBrainer 4.8% goes into 30L keg! Added to national customer listings at The Botanist, Food and Fuel, Urban Leisure Group and we send our first export to The Netherlands.

2017

Brewhouse and Kitchen replace their junk cider range with SweetCheeks, NoBrainer and Sideburns across their 18 site national estate. We join as coporate members of the Slow Food Movement. The awards come piling in as SideBurns attains 1* “simply delicious” rating at Great Taste Awards, and BlowHorn collects a Bronze medal at the US’ premier cider competition, Great Lakes. BlowHorn gets media coverage on Channel 4’s Big Breakfast and Radio2. Exports pick up to Italy, Spain and Sweden. We launch our new website with a mission to champion real good cider and educate people on the differences between factory and real cider. After popular demand, we release new, lighter ABV draught ciders with our Super-natural range with She-Devil, Freak Show, Voodoo Pulp.

2018

More awards! Sideburns and BlowHorn win Silver medals at the Frankfurt International Cider Competition and SweetCheeks is awarded 2* Great Taste Award “outstanding”. We launch TukTuk, the UK’s first and only lemongrass infused cider. Jake joins the team after previous employer Orchard Pig is bought by Magners. But the story doesn’t end here folks. We’re committed to bringing more real good cider to as many people as possible. Subscribe to our newsletter The Juice for more steps in the real good cider journey. Thanks for making it this far.”

Rory Souter

Founder

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