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Traditional Somerset cider has lots of character

We talk to the co-founder of Orchard Pig, a Somerset producer of craft ciders with character, who is trying to keep some of the county’s much loved 150 year old cider-making traditions real

Andrew Quinlan Orchard Pig Cider

Well and truly 'Rooted in Somerset', Orchard Pig has restored a 150 year old tradition of cider making at West Bradley Orchards, and continues to restore traditional orchards in Somerset.

“Our award winning Orchard Pig Cider is all about real character, naturally great taste and a brand that cares for Somerset’s roots! We aimed to reflect this in our no nonsense and cheeky brand identity.

"After fermenting our own special cider recipe, Somerset’s secret is carefully blended. And although life in our orchard is pressing for apples, we know proper cider is a craft and takes time to mature. It’s about enjoying and celebrating a cheekier side of life, not taking itself too seriously and raising a wry smile.”

It all started in 2004, just outside Glastonbury when Andrew Quinlan, a former Barcardi and Martini drinks manager, and Neil Macdonald were enjoying their home-made cider and hog roast with friends. Orchard Pig was born out of a shared passion for great food and Old Spots, the original orchard pigs, and an accidental discovery that home-grown apples make the best tasting cider.

Who are the Orchard Pig consumers?

“Orchard Pig consumers are typically affluent and open-minded, wanting an authentic but accessible cider - half of cider drinkers are happy to pay more for premium cider. And you won’t find Orchard Pig everywhere – we are very discerning about who can serve our ciders. 

"Our ciders are filtered, leaving the great taste of a ‘scrumpy’ without the furry bits. Our ‘More apples, less bubbles’ approach delivers accessible taste and character, standing out from the homogeneous big brand imitators.

"In a sea of bland and boring, we’re dedicated to shaking up the cider category. From our way of thinking to our distinctive packaging and taste, we stand out from the crowd - a unique and playful personality with cheeky, intelligent wit – reflected within our brand.

"We are a no nonsense brand, serious about growth. Bringing a damn good cider to those who want to experience something with character, something uncomplicated and honest. There is an amusing tale for each product which will satisfy curiosity about our Cider names, with playful, unconventional copy. 

We want to have some real character behind each Cider, which is why we choose the names we did to make them stand out on the shelf, such as Reveller – and it is also got a blue design, which no other cider does. The designs of each cider are quirky, fun and irreverent. We want to stand out from the herd – bringing the brand to life on the shelf.

"Our consumers are open-minded, typically in their late twenties to early thirties, and usually choose Orchard Pig for two reasons. The first being they want an authentic but accessible cider; a refined, honest taste of the countryside. The second is that they’re looking for a great-tasting product with provenance and character, something that really jumps out to them.

"We have a strong core of male and female consumers, many of whom discovered us after seeking out flavours that really stand apart from the homogeneous and over-exposed big brand ciders.

"Unlike these brands, we strongly recommend against serving Orchard Pig with ice – we can’t see why on earth you’d want to dilute the taste. We suggest you serve chilled for best taste. Food makes a great accompaniment to Orchard Pig, whether you serve with a a BBQ, particularly a really meaty beef burger, or add when cooking a lamb stew. It doesn’t just taste great with traditional British food, either; you can use warmed Orchard Pig to hydrate couscous and give it a fuller, tangier edge.”

Marketing plans for 2013?

“We are launching a consumer-focused campaign under the idea ‘Stay Rooted’. This idea exemplifies our approach to the modern world, revealing how our Somerset heritage allows us to appreciate simplicity.

"This campaign will run predominantly in pubs wherein we believe selling Orchard Pig will have the greatest impact on sales. We will be creating ‘Stay Rooted’ areas in these pubs to transport consumers to the countryside, as well as rolling out new POS initiatives, events, tastings and other seasonal promotions as well as a full PR consumer campaign.

"To go that step further in helping our licensees to boost sales, we will be visiting bar staff and chefs across the country to educate and empower them to sell and use our range. We value pub staff on par with our consumers and want them to believe in our products as much as we do. We’re keen to work with pub chefs to create Orchard Pig food pairings that will have consumers salivating and licensees profiting.”

What is most important about the product to consumers?

“Taste and story.  Many consumers believe ‘premiumness’ must deliver on taste, ingredients and heritage. Using West Country bittersweet cider apples, we’re 100% natural with the perfect crispness and balance.  Orchard Pig is ‘cider’ cider and our team are passionate in ensuring every pint is up to scratch.

"We believe we have a great story to tell about our brand and this is reflected within our product, packaging and taste."

Pictured: bar runner (top) and bar mat design

28 July 2013