Husband and wife team, Neil and Katie Sime, who run Blackford Craft Distillery near Inverurie, are launching Aberdeenshire’s first Cidery with plans to grow heritage apple trees on site at their six-acre property in Blackford, Aberdeenshire.
The couple currently produce Vesperis Pictish Gin and Vodka at the distillery using locally sourced seasonal apples as one of the key botanicals, drawing on Scotland’s rich heritage in growing apple trees. Katie said “There are over 40 Scottish varieties, many of which are in decline. Apples are a wonderfully versatile fruit, we originally used them as a botanical with the intention of distilling an apple-based spirit from scratch for our gin and vodka in the future, however, we’ve recently been getting into the craft cider scene.”
They hope to commence cider production next year. “2019 is going to be very exciting for us. We always planned to make the spirit ourselves, as a result we deliberately chose equipment that could be used for a variety of jobs. This is particularly the case with Genevieve, our iStill, we chose her because of her capability to ferment and distil with the temperature carefully controlled, which is essential for a consistent fermentation.”
The planting of an orchard using heritage apple trees will enable the company to produce single estate spirits and cider which fits into their ‘branch to bottle’ philosophy. Katie added “It will take a few years for the trees to mature, so in the meantime we will be relying on apples from the local community in return for cider or gin. .”
There are 30 trees available to sponsor for the first part of the orchard, and packages start at £30. Potential supporters can contact the distillery on [email protected] for more information or attend one of their Christmas events which are listed on their Facebook page @blackfordcraftdistillery.