Wednesday, 10 September 2008
Cider Jar of the Month - Creedy Valley
The Creedy Valley Cider Co were one of several sizeable Devon producers which would have benefited from the burgeoning West Country tourist trade of the 60's. This era would have presumably been the peak of Creedy's business success, but it's doubtful whether the company lasted into the 80's since there is no mention of the company in the earliest cider guides which date from this time. But if you thought that the early demise of this regional ciderworks would make their cider jars hard to find, you'd be very wrong.
Creedy Valley cider jars come in all shapes and sizes, and crop up more frequently than perhaps any others. They are very common on eBay, can be found in charity shops the length and breadth of the country, and are occasionally passed off as rare and valuable antiques when in fact they are very common and have little monetary value.
It is perhaps surprising that a company which produced so many of these gaudy cider jars for the tourist trade, and presumably had a good reputation in their local area of Crediton, made such a minimal impact in the few books and online resources which deal with the history of English cidermaking. The only reference I've managed to find is in Mark Foot's excellent collection of history and anecdote 'Cider's Story Rough and Smooth' (1999), in which we learn that the Creedy Valley Cider Co fell victim (at some point) to the voracious appetite for takeovers which helped Bulmers grow to its current position as the worlds biggest producer of cider (of a sort!).
I said that Creedy cider jars come in different versions, and you can see that the most unusual jar in my collection is one made for the Old Inn, Widecombe, which depicts 'Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all' on their way back from the famous Widecombe Fair. I've seen other designs too, including one with the slightly misleading appendage of 'Greetings from Cornwall', suggesting that Creedy Valley's cider sales extended throughout the West Country, and possibly beyond.