The Somerset Distillery and Burrow Hill Cider, Martock, Somerset
Visit the Somerset Distillery at Burrow Hill Farm to taste Somerset Cider Brandy and learn about the distillation process. With its ‘Appellation Controllée’ granted in 2011, Somerset Cider Brandy has gained the international recognition it deserves.
In London, you’ll find Somerset Cider Brandy stocked in fine food stores such as Fortnum & Mason, Harrods and Berry Bros.
We’d rather put on our wellies (or cycling shorts), and visit the distillery on the farm in the Somerset Levels. There’s nothing quite like smelling the apples in the orchards and then sipping this golden spirit in the place where it’s made. You’ll not only discover a great story, you’ll be full of admiration for the work and dedication that has gone in to reviving this ancient spirit.
With more than 180 acres of cider apple orchards and over 200 years’ of cider pressing history, Burrow Hill is a must-visit Somerset cider farm.
You can go on quite a cider tasting journey here. In addition to Somerset Cider Brandy, there’s traditional farmhouse cider, bottle-fermented ciders, a perry, an ice cider and award-winning liqueurs.
You’ll find it impossible to come home without buying a bottle (or two).
Be Part of The Somerset Cider Brandy Revival
Set up by Julian Temperley, (fashionistas, he’s the father of British designer, Alice Temperley), the Somerset Cider Brandy Company has, over the last 30 years, led a revival of interest in cider brandy in the region. In 1989, HM Customs granted the company the first full cider distilling licence in recorded history. It’s the Somerset soil and climate, along with its vintage apple varieties and oak barrels, that all give Somerset Cider Brandy its unique characteristics and flavour.
See Cider-Making History
Visit the farm in the autumn and you’ll see piles of apples as they prepare for cider production. Look at the oak vats, barrels and presses from over 150 years of cider-making and have a peek at the two rather tall ‘ladies’, the copper stills named Josephine and Fifi. They sit behind an armour-plated glass wall protected by 68 Customs and Excise locks and seals. They use half of the cider they produce to make Somerset Cider Brandy. If you visit the distillery between March and May or September and December, you’ll see the stills hard at work.
Walk the Orchard Trail
Walk the orchard trail and you’ll find out about the 40 different apple varieties grown here including vintage cider apples with names such as Dabinett, Yarlington Mill and Kingston Black.
Admire The View From Burrow Hill
Climb to the top of Burrow Hill with its single sycamore tree and you’ll be greeted with incredible views of the Somerset Levels. On a good day, you can see as far as Glastonbury Tor.
Taste Burrow Hill Cider
After your walk, have a refreshing drink of cider in the Cider House where you can buy it bottled or draught. For the past 38 years, Burrow Hill Cider has brought a smile to many a festival-goer at Glastonbury where the Somerset Cider Bus makes an annual appearance serving up cider directly from the barrel.
- Cyclists can visit the distillery on the Somerset Orchards and Cider Cycle Trail
- Go home with a bottle of Somerset cider brandy such as Shipwreck. Left in oak barrels for between 3-20 years, the cider brandy gradually gains its colour and becomes deliciously smooth
- The Somerset Distillery is closed on Sundays
In Normandy, a ‘Trou Normand’ is traditionally served between courses to cleanse the palate during an elaborate meal. To make a Trou ‘Somerset’, place two scoops of apple sorbet in a champagne glass and pour over a shot of Somerset Cider Brandy.
Shop For Somerset Cider Brandy
Where to Stay in Somerset
The Swan at Wedmore
The Swan offers fresh and modern rooms in the tranquil Somerset village of Wedmore.
Rooms from £68 a night.
Please check with the Somerset Distillery directly.
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The Foodie Travel Guide
Sally is the founder and editor of The Foodie Travel Guide. She travels around the UK and beyond in search of the best foodie days out, tasting experiences and delicious places to stay. She loves a glass of English sparkling wine, afternoon tea with friends and escaping London for gastronomic adventures.