When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, but when the old girl gives you apples, press ‘em and make ’em into cider. In the case of Andy and Annie Hallett however, it was when they were presented with 25 acres of land that they decided to make the stuff.
After moving to Blaengawney Farm in the valleys 11 years ago, the couple were faced with the dilemma of what to do with their newly acquired land, but after careful consideration, perhaps influenced by Andy’s passion for cider, they made up their minds and were set on planting an orchard to make their own. Until their apple trees, planted just three years ago, are matured, the Halletts harvest orchards from around the South East of Wales to create a range of award winning ciders and so I’m thrilled to feature Andy in the second Q&A with top quality cider makers in Wales.
When did you start making cider?
I started making cider in about 2004 as a hobby and for my own consumption but it seems to have got a bit out of hand.
Why did you start making cider?
I like drinking cider and have had a lot of practice over the years so thought I might try to make some myself. A friend turned up with half a ton of cider apples so we milled them, pressed them with some rudimentary home made equipment and that, as they say, was that!
If you were stranded on a desert island and one cider washed up on the beach, what would you want it to be?
As it would be very hot on this desert island it would definitely have to be my dry cider; Heartbreaker.
What were you doing before you started crafting cider?
I was running my own engineering company. I am an engineer by profession but retired last year to concentrate on cider making as a lifestyle choice. My engineering skills have come in very handy though!
Good balance, clean taste with a good mouth feel and finish.
If you weren’t making cider, what would you be doing?
I’d still be solving other people’s wretched problems!
What award are you most proud of?
Winning the Royal Bath & West Show’s Pewterer’s Cup for my farmhouse cider.