Nick Showering explains how Showerings cider has been created over so many years.

With a 180 year family history in Somerset cider making, what do you feel are your family’s biggest accomplishments over the years?

Around 180 years ago my ancestors bought a bought a pub called The Black Swan in Shepton Mallet in the heart of Somerset. The pub no longer exists but it marked the beginning of our family’s journey in the drinks industry, and it is where the Showering offices and cider mill are still located today. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as the saying goes!

Over the years our business has evolved from fermenting cider and perry and distributing it locally to creating award-winning cider and expanding our involvement into other brands including Babycham, Britvic, Tetley, Harveys and a large portion of the brands now owned by Pernod Ricard.

Ultimately staying true to our core product and passing down the knowledge and cider making skills through the generations is what we, as a family, are most proud of.

Great British Life: The team in the 1950s. The team in the 1950s. (Image: Showerings)

The Showerings mill in Shepton Mallet is renowned for producing a number of famous brands, such as Babycham. What family advice has been passed down to you as you build the new Showerings brand?

I’m fortunate that I have had industry knowledge instilled in me for as long as I can remember. It is something that money cannot buy. Aside from the technicalities and cider making know-how, it’s an unwavering desire to create the best product. Diligence and hard work are key but ultimately to make the best cider possible you need to treat the ingredients with respect and the rest will follow.

How is the triple vintage process similar to wine making?

The fermentation of apple juice is more like wine making than other brewing processes. The reason is that both wine making and cider making utilise the natural fruit sugars within the grape and apple.

Similar yeast strains are used in both, to ferment the juice into alcohol. The character of the wine or cider is influenced by the natural flavour of the juice. This is why at Showerings we put such care into picking the right blend of cider apples.

The natural sugars in both grape and apple juice are readily fermentable no heat processes are required to convert the sugars in anyway. Cool fermentation of the freshly pressed juice ensures that

the full flavour and attributes of the individual grape or apple varieties are retained and noticeable in the finished wine or cider.

Great British Life: The apple orchards where it all begins. The apple orchards where it all begins. (Image: Dave Watts)

What were your main challenges when creating a triple vintage blend?

Fine cider apples are a natural produce and one of their desirable qualities is that depending on the conditions of the season in which they were grown, they offer subtle changes in character.

The first challenge is to select the best apples at the optimum point of harvest to produce a vintage. The second is ensuring that each vintage is consistently good and allows for the natural variations of the seasons. The skill of the cidermaker is in combining the vintages and knowing how the different blends will balance and elevate each other to the point of perfection. The final challenge is to expertly package the blend so that it maintains its excellent characteristics and matures accordingly.

The new Showerings Triple Vintage is crafted using apples from a single award-winning orchard in Somerset, the heartland of British cider making, seven miles from Showerings’ cider mill in Shepton Mallet.