No, this isn’t just a title to lure you in. It’s 100% serious. For the cider fans amongst you, this is the opportunity to invest in cider and help a local business, all at the same time.
Needless to say, the COVID pandemic has been hard for everyone and we’ve seen businesses try all sorts of ways to survive. The owners of Napton Cidery have come up with their own innovative way to weather the storm and are inviting supporters to invest in the business so they can emerge from the pandemic strong enough to build their business further and carry on growing.
They’re selling £40,000 in shares of Napton Cidery following the success of an initial round of investment two years ago – a move they hope will help their business weather the storm.
You might remember we first visited Napton Cidery back in summer 2020 when we were looking for local things to do. Tucked away in Napton just outside Southam, the business started as a hobby for owners Jolyon and Charlotte Olivier after they enjoyed the taste of craft cider on a family holiday to Devon.
Fast forward nearly a decade and they’ve got an award-winning family-run business, with an eight-strong team harvesting, pressing, bottling and producing more than 90,000 litres of cider a year, using 17 types of apples from six orchards across the Herefordshire region.
They also produce limited-edition ciders and perry as well as juices, spirits and vinegars. Sustainability is at the heart of what they do, right through from how the apples are grown (in unsprayed orchards with no unnatural chemicals) to the recyclable packaging and sourcing of ingredients.
Expansion plans were already underway when COVID hit, and while we got the chance to check out their shop and soon-to-be taproom on a sunny summer’s day back in May, they’ve never actually managed to fulfil their dream of holding tastings, events and supper clubs at the rural setting.
And with pubs shut more than they’ve been open in the last year or so, their ciders haven’t been able to grace the taps of local bars either.
“The tap room was closed before it even opened,” says Jolyon. “Our licence
was issued on the Monday immediately after the Government shut the pubs in March. We had been planning a big launch to celebrate. We also had six pubs lined up ready to install our kegs, all of which had to close as well.”
Despite pivoting to home deliveries, Jolyon estimates the cancellation of tours, tastings, workshops and monthly live music events – plus everything else – has cost the business more than £100,000 in lost revenue.
“The business side has been hit really hard. Up to 30% of our products were
sold through our events and festivals which had to stop. We had to do some
crisis management and rewrote our business plans in March but we were
determined to find a way through. I don’t know where we would be without
the web shop’s home delivery service. We would have been in a lot of
“We were a business that was ready to grow but had its wings clipped. The
funding round would not have been needed without COVID.”
Despite the setback, the couple are refusing to give up. They’re planning to produce a new line of apple brandies and still have big plans for when they’re allowed to open – helped hopefully by the round of investment that’s currently underway.
“Our first crowdfunding campaign two years ago raised £148,000 which
allowed us to expand, rebrand our products and bring staff on board,” added Jolyon. “This new campaign is about sustaining growth. If we didn’t do this we would be having to make some cutbacks which would stunt that growth.
“It is a very good time to be helping out local businesses if you can. We have
some great rewards available to our investors. There is no better time to get
involved with Napton Cidery, we have an exciting future ahead of us.”