Cider firm sends off 36,000 bottles to help Aussies cool off in summer
A Cornish cider producer will today begin shipping 36,000 bottles of cider halfway across the world in a bid to help quench Australian drinkers' thirst.
Around 1,500 boxes will be packed into a shipping container at Cornish Orchards' base near Liskeard in East Cornwall this morning at the start of a six-week voyage to the port of Melbourne.
Owners of the firm, which produces apple and elder flower juices, as well as a range of apple and pear ciders, say they hope the consignment will be the first of many.
The order follows a huge increase in the popularity of cider among Australians in recent years. Since 2007, when summer advertising campaigns encouraged young drinkers to "try cider over ice as a refreshing and fruity alternative to beer", sales have shot up.
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In the past year, the Australian cider market was estimated to be worth $300 million. More than 90 home-produced varieties are now available in the country – with names like Cheeky Rascal, Dirty Granny and Three Oaks – but it seems purists are keen to get their lips round the real thing: cider from Cornwall.
The Cornish Orchards order – which will need to be packed into the container in just three hours – consists of its Cornish Gold cider, pear cider and alcoholic ginger beer.
The firm, which was established 12 years ago by former dairy farmer Andy Atkinson on his Westnorth Manor Farm near Duloe, currently produces between 2,500 and 5,000 bottles a day. With a workforce of 24, production grew by 40% in the last 12 months. The aim is to double production during 2013 and increase the number of staff.
Communications executive Caitie Parrott said: "This is a first for us and will hopefully lead to further orders for Australia. It is our biggest export to date and we devoted two weeks of production to getting it ready on schedule. It will take a month and a half for the container to arrive in Melbourne – in time for the start of their summer.
"To ensure it arrives there in perfect condition we will be hand-packing the container and this has to be done in a very short time."
As well as Australia, Caitie said Cornish Orchards recently received orders from Sweden, Singapore, Denmark and Italy. Caitie, who personally favours the pear cider, explained that because it is made from British conference pears rather than the perry pears, the drink has a less sweet flavour to other varieties and this is one of the reasons Australians like it.
"Drinking a glass of this is very close to tasting the fruit itself," she said. "It is very refreshing and has an authentic, natural fruitiness to it. It seems to be just what Australian drinkers like on a hot day."