Debenham: Aspall’s ‘Harry Sparrow’ tribute cider success

Harry Sparrow, Aspall cider maker

Harry Sparrow, Aspall cider maker - Credit: Archant

A TRIBUTE drink created in memory of a celebrated cider maker is enjoying growing success.

Harry Sparrow Cyder

Harry Sparrow Cyder - Credit: Archant

Debenham-based cider producer Aspall is spending around £1million over two years on launching a new premium drink, Aspall Harry Sparrow Classic English Cyder, onto the market.

Harry Sparrow, cider maker at Aspall

Harry Sparrow, cider maker at Aspall - Credit: Archant

Designed to sit alongside Aspall Draught Suffolk Cyder, the drink, a tribute to the Aspall stalwart, reflects the traditional ciders which Harry Sparrow used to enjoy making and drinking in the mid 20th Century.

The drink, launched in October, is currently on limited distribution because of the poor apple crop last year.

“It’s doing incredibly well in the outlets it’s in,” said Aspall partner Barry Chevallier Guild, who was only a young boy when Harry was working for the company.

“It has been very, very well received.”

Harry’s techniques were influenced by the Norman heritage of Aspall owners the Chevallier family.

Most Read

He also liked to experiment by using a higher proportion of bittersweet apples than other Aspall cyders called for, using apples such as Kingston Black, Woodbine, Tremletts Bitters and Bulmers Norman, all of which were being grown at Aspall by the 20th Century.

Harry Sparrow cyder, which contains 4.6%, is available in both draught and bottled format.

“My father says that Harry was very kind-hearted but also strict,” said Barry.

“You tended to do what you were told and got on with it.”

Harry was “part of the fabric of Aspall’s”, he added.

“He used to make a high strength Christmas cider around 8% ABV. It really used to raise everybody’s spirits,” he said.

One tale of Harry’s exploits included the time in the 1950s when Barry’s grandfather asked him to go to Aspall train station with his horse and cart to fetch a chicken hut which was due to be left on the platform.

Harry duly set out and returned with the ticket box, thinking it was the boxed hut.

He was hurriedly despatched back to the station before the next train arrived and its absence was noticed.

Aspall Harry Sparrow complements the existing range of Aspall cyders which comprise Aspall Draught Suffolk Cyder, Aspall Premier Cru Suffolk Cyder, Aspall Organic Suffolk Cyder, Aspall Perronelle’s Blush, Aspall Imperial Cyder, Aspall Lady Jennifer’s Crisp Light Cyder and Aspall Cuvée Chevallier.

Aspall has been producing cider at the same site in Debenham, Suffolk, since 1728. It is now run by the eighth generation of the Chevallier family.