December 10 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Suffolk-based cider company Aspall is predicting a vintage year, with the weather having provided ideal growing conditions for the UK’s apple crop.
The company, based at Aspall, near Debenham, says that while reports of a bumper crop in terms of volume have been exaggerated, the quality of this year’s apples – particularly in the dessert and culinary varieties which account for a high proportion of Aspall’s mix – should be very good.
Henry Chevallier Guild, a partner in the family-owned business which favours the traditional spelling of “cyder” for its products, said that while the UK’s apple crop was forecast to be 23% up on last year, this would only bring the total into line with the long term average as 2012 had been substantially worse than normal.
Two key components of the Aspall mix, the Cox and Bramley varieties, were expected to be up by 19% and 14% respectively compared with last year but, in keeping with long-term downward trends, this would still leave their volumes 14% and 18% lower respectively compared with 2011.
“In spite of extremely positive forecasts, volumetrically we are anticipating quite an average year,” said Mr Chevallier Guild. “Almost all varieties including Cox and Bramley will be up on a particularly poor 2012 harvest; however, they are unlikely to exceed crops from pre 2012.
“Only Gala, and some of the more recently introduced varieties such as Braeburn, are showing consistent long-term growth in volume. So, the general view is that it will not be the bumper harvest some are predicting.”
However, he added: “Qualitatively, we think the weather this summer will contribute to higher sugar levels in the fruit than we have seen in recent years, yet at the same time the acidity levels will not be significantly lower as the sunshine has not been consistent.
“This is particularly relevant for the style of cyder produced at Aspall, with our emphasis on a higher dessert and culinary mix. The cyders we can blend as a result of this summer’s weather is why we are forecasting a vintage year for Aspall Cyder.”
Aspall, founded in 1728 by Clement Chevallier, is now run by the eighth generation of the family and produces a wide range of ciders, vinegars and applie juice.
Besides being avaiable across the UK, its ciders are also sold in countries including Australia, the United States, France, Ireland, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Germany, China, New Zealand, Austria and India.
The company recently re-entered the Indian market as part of a strategy to increase its presence in emerging markets by capitalising on demend for premium heritage English products.
Aspall cider was previously available in India in 1902 when Lord Kitchener, whose mother was a member of the Chevallier family and who adopted the title Baron Kitchener of Khartoum and of Aspall when he was first ennobled in 1898, had it sent over by his cousin JB Chevallier, great-grandfather of current owners Barry and Henry Chevallier Guild.