We are excited to start the series of informal interviews with people that are as passionate about cider as we are.
We’re aiming to share the knowledge, tips and insight into everything cider with this Question and Answer format for cider drinkers, cider makers and cider publicans. Each people being asked the same questions. If you want to be interviewed contact us.
Onto our first Q&A which is with a man immersed in cider land everyday, Bill Bradshaw:
Bill is a freelance photographer based in Somerset (billbradshaw.co.uk) and has been photographing and documenting the cider community since 2004. He is currently writing a book on cider culture in UK and abroad (iamcider.blogspot.com)
- How did your love of cider start?
I’ve liked it since I was young (maybe 13 or 14) when I used to sneak into the larder for a secret gulp as my parents would buy farmhouse from out local cidermaker, but my love of cider started much later in my life. I was asked to document ‘Apple Villages’ in 2004, a heritage project engaging 120+ school children in 5 apple-growing parishes In the Somerset, led by artist Kate Lynch and author James Crowden. It aimed to encourage children to write original and lively poetry, and also to draw and illustrate their very personal observations of orchards, apples and Cider making. Documenting it allowed me to become a part of it and really understand the process, traditions and our heritage side by side. When the project ended, I couldn’t stop… its more like a love affair than an interest.
- What’s your favourite place to drink cider?
A hot, sunny afternoon at a festival. Whilst cooking the Sunday roast. At a picnic. A BBQ. The pub. And so the list goes on… anywhere really!
- What’s your favourite cider, and why?
I don’t really have one favourite however, I prefer a cider that is made with 100% juice, from cider apples, that has obviously been crafted with some passion and know-how. I have no problem with them either being gassed, pasteurised and filtered or flat and cloudy like a farmhouse. If its a genuine drink made in that tradition, I’m usually unusually happy with it.
- What makes cider so special, compared to other drinks?
For me, its about heritage; its the taste of our past and present at the same time. Cider makes me enthusiastic for life; its tasty, refreshing and goes well with a large variety of foods or yet is equally enjoyable on its own. And it can get you really trollied, really quickly- which is nice.
- What’s the perfect accompanient to enjoy your cider, special mug, cheese, pickles?
I got bought a John Leech cider mug for my birthday a few years ago and its my favourite cider article. Its a beautiful object, really sturdy, lovely to drink from and is inscribed ‘Bread is the staff of life, but cider is life itself. JC’. He’s an amazing potter and I assume he enjoys a drop of cider because it holds a pint and a half!