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Swansong for cider maker

Roy Bailey calls it a day

John Garvey

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John Garvey

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Swansong for cider maker

THE proprietor of the Lambourn Valley Cider Company, Roy Bailey, has announced his retirement after 21 years.

It is not the first time Mr Bailey has called it a day – but he insisted: “This time I mean it!”

The Lambourn Valley Cider Company was formed in 1995 to make traditional cider and perry from local fruit, all of which grew within a 20-mile radius of Great Shefford.

It was the first company to produce cider commercially in Berkshire for many years and two of its creations, Royal County and King’s Ransom, won awards.

Mr Bailey used fruit of all types – cookers, eaters, crab apples and even some genuine cider apples such as Dabinett, which grow in orchards, gardens and on farmland in the countryside around Newbury.

All the fruit was gathered from trees unsullied by pesticides and growing on land free from artificial fertilisers and agrochemicals.

In 2007, Mr Bailey ceased production of cider, concentrating instead on making bottle-fermented perry.

Then, in 2012, the company ceased full-scale production altogether, although it continued to make small amounts for limited distribution.

The 2015 offering has been named, appropriately, Swansong.

Mr Bailey said: “I could just as well have called it The Last Hurrah, as my retirement decision is final. I know I have announced my retirement before, but this time I mean it.”

Swansong is described as a dry, lemony cider of 6.2 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume) and is available on draught to pubs, beer festivals and shops.

It will be on sale for the first time at The Swan Inn, Great Shefford, on St George’s Day, Saturday, April 23, and at Reading Beer and Cider Festival the following week.

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