*Ampleforth Abbey, Ampleforth, North Yorkshire*
*Where it all started!*
Ampleforth has been home to a community of Benedictine Monks since 1802 following their exile from France during the revolution.
For over well over 100 years the monks have tended to the trees in the Ampleforth Abbey orchards but it wasn’t until recent years that Ampleforth took its first steps into turning the orchard into a commercial venture and creating the first of its range of award winning beverages.
*How do you like them apples!?*
Around 15 years ago a monk called Father Rainer Verborg set to work in bringing Ampleforth’s 200 year orchard back to its former glory after some years of neglect. With an abundance of apples to store he began experimenting with pressing the apples and turning them into cider. While his first attempts at cider making were not the most successful, his experimenting led to the setup of the cider mill, the regeneration and expansion of the orchards and the development of the current Ampleforth Cider recipe (a combination of 60% eating and 40% cooking apples.)
Nowadays Ampleforth Abbey employ an expert team led by Cameron Smith who not only make the cider, maintain and expand the orchard but also run tours of the orchards and pruning and grafting workshops for members of the public who want to get to grips with orchard maintenance.
*A brewing tradition!*
With the success of the cider, the team at Ampleforth were keen to expand the range to include a beer with a nod to the Trappist style double fermented beers that were brewed by the monks during their time in France.
With no brewery on site, Ampleforth turned to fellow Deliciouslyorkshire members, Little Valley Brewery.
Gillian Dewar, Marketing Manager said “There are so many great breweries in Yorkshire we could have worked with but we chose Little Valley Brewery to make the beer because of their vast knowledge of double fermentation and brewing Trappist style beers.”
And the collaboration worked because within three months of the beer launching it won Best Drink at 2012 Deliciouslyorkshire Awards.
In 2014 Ampleforth Abbey were approached by another Deliciouslyorkshire member, Rosebud Preserves about the possibility of collaborating on a special range of preserves to celebrate Rosebud’s 25th Anniversary.
Ampleforth jumped at the chance to have their products used by well established brand Rosebud and the result was a celebratory trio of Ampleforth Beer Chutney, Cider Marmalade and a jam made using their cider brandy.
The preserve range is now available to buy through both Ampleforth Abbey and Rosebud Preserves.
Winning awards is not unusual for Ampleforth, with two Deliciouslyorkshire awards, Great Taste Awards and medals in the International Beer challenge under their belt. With the success of their current range there’s no wonder that Ampleforth will have plans to expand the range in the future as well as increasing the size of their orchard.
Gillian Dewar, Ampleforth Abbey’s Marketing Manager says “We’ll be planting another 200 apple trees in the next year to help us meet the growing demand for our cider products, although it will be a few years yet until we’ll be picking apple from them, we have to plan ahead for the future!”
The full Ampleforth Abbey food and drink range includes Premium Cider (8.3%), Traditional Cider (6.5%), Ampleforth Abbey Beer (7%), Ampleforth Apple Liqueur, Cider Brandy, Cherry, Pear and Peach Brandy, Ampleforth Abbey Chutney, Jam and Marmalade and Ampleforth Abbey Honey