Pilton Cider, England
Pilton makes an exciting range of whole juice ciders using the artisan method of ‘keeving’. The process uses only cider apples; no water, no sugar, just patience and develop sublime creations that have as much in common with the winemaking process as anything focusing on the use of wild yeasts, cold cellars and bottle fermentation. Pilton was started in 2010 by Martin Berkely and uses apples from high-quality, Somerset orchards, planted in the 60s and 70s, to produce this most traditional and evocative of local beverages.
Most Somerset orchards grow bittersweet apples, which are some of the best for cider production due to their high sugar and tannic flavour, so it’s no wonder that the Southwest of England has one of the highest concentrations of cider orchards in the world. Apples are collected from ancient orchards in and around the parish of Pilton before being turned into cider using the ‘keeving’ process, which is an artisan method for making naturally sweetened cider.
High-quality cider apples are used, no sugar, no water or anything else is added. The keeving process prevents yeast from fully fermenting the apple juice into cider, so some natural fruity sweetness remains. Unlike the usual cider-making method where apple juice is fermented to dry and then sweetened artificially or with sugar. Talking technically, keeving prevents full fermentation by the removal of nutrients. This involves the formation of a pectin gel, which floats to the top of fresh pressed apple juice in translucent tanks. The gel traps nitrogen and is removed. Starved of its essential nutrients, the wild yeast fermentation stops early, leaving natural sugars from the apples themselves to sweeten the cider. Keeved cider forms the heart of every product Picton makes, elevating their ciders to something quite unique and innovative.
- Traditionally produced yet a thoroughly contemporary drink, from Pilton in Somerset. A range of innovative, low-alcohol and deliciously refreshing ciders, which work well with food.
- The key ingredients are the bittersweet cider apples grown around the parish of Pilton, and the artisan method of keeving which transforms the pressed fruit into unique naturally sweet ciders.
- By weaving in different yeasts, other fruits and barrel aging techniques Pilton create a variety of small batch drinks, which offer a lower alcohol alternative without compromising quality or taste.