Thursday, 13 May 2010

Rutland - Open for Sales

In our efforts to keep the 'cider miles' to an absolute minimum, we've been looking for a local outlet for our ciders and perrys in addition to our 'Cider Tap' the Red Lion, Middleton. Given the choice, we'd much rather sell all of our cider locally rather than send odd barrels to events further afield. Sadly, the vast majority of local pub outlets are either tied on wet sales, or prefer to stick to tried and tested national brands, unwilling to take the risk on small-scale local concerns such as ourselves.

Now I'm well aware that the pub trade is an increasingly difficult one to make a living from. It's perhaps no surprise that licensees have a tendency to play safe with their drinks offering, after all, most of their customers are similarly 'conservative' in their tastes. Nevertheless, it still frustrates me that so few pubs see their cider choice as an opportunity to offer something different, perhaps even something unique to the area, and thereby give themselves a small but important competitive advantage. It's interesting to me that Delicatessens and Farmshops have seen the benefit of offering local, distinctive produce for many years, yet most of the pub trade is still lagging behind in this regard. We've been approached on numerous occasions to supply farmshops and other speciality food outlets, a market we would love to exploit just as soon as the bottling line is up and running. Sadly the same cannot be said for the pub trade, even those which are free to source their cider from wherever they like...

Meanwhile, one local business willing to take the initiative and stock our 'local' cider, is the excellent Wing Hall Farmshop in the pretty Rutland village of Wing. From this weekend our Rockingham Forest Cider will be available for offsales from the farmshop, or by the glass to accompany a meal in the Cafe-Bar. We aim to visit the Farmshop and Cafe this weekend for Shopping, Tea & Cake, and a spot of Free-Range Hen Watching. We'll post a full report of our findings on here.

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