P. 6

From Branch to Bottle

        Hops • grapes • apples • blackcurrants • potatoes

        Where else would you find producers turning potatoes into gin and vodka,
        blackcurrants into cassis, raspberries into frambroise, hops  into beer, grapes
        into wine, and of course, most famously, apples into cider all in one county?
        Herefordshire of course!
        Blackcurrants, Raspberries, Cherries   Coffee Liqueur … well, there had to be some
        and more                           alcohol in it somewhere!
        Did you know that Herefordshire has its very
        own British Cassis and cheeky Frambroise,   Hops
        made on the Whittern Estate’s blackcurrant   Herefordshire has been prime hop growing
        and raspberry plantation? Gin and Vodka   country for over 300 years and originally
        can be made from all sorts of different   whole families would move to work and
        grains and products, and that remarkably   live on the hundreds of acres of hop yards.
        includes potatoes. Potatoes are the basis   However, in the 1800s, along with the rest
        of Chase Distillery’s spirits, grown on the   of the country, British hops suffered disease
        Herefordshire farm, liquified from the farm’s   and competition from cheaper imports and
        borehole and then the brews are created in   hop growing was scaled back. Now the main
        their fascinating on-site distillery.  region is to the west around Bromyard and,
        And while cider is the local nectar, one clever   with the renaissance in micro-breweries, hop
        craft producer, Black Mountain Botanicals is   yards are enjoying an expansion, though
                                           picking is very much more automated
        making vodka and gin out of cider apples
        …and a tot of rum!                 nowadays.
        For unique botanicals (those amazing   You can buy your own fresh decorative hop
        flavour combinations that many spirits have)   garlands from The Hop Pocket Shopping
        Herefordshire producers use their farmland,   Village (see P38).
        orchards and even hedgerows to the max.
        Cherries, elderflower, strawberries, rosemary,   Grape Expectations
        other fruits and herbs, and many more sweet   The warming climate is making the UK more
        and fragrant additions are picked, pressed   successful for grape growers. You’ll find
        and dried to give their products their own   properties with a small number of grape vines
        unique flavours. Taste and visit the ones in   for their own consumption, but to have a
        this guide.                        profitable business you’ll need at least 5 acres
                                           of plants. Learn about the grape varieties,
        The daily grind                    how to grow them and production tips when
        The area even has its own coffee. Ground   you visit beautiful and award-winning vintners
        and roasted from worldwide beans and   Wythall Estate and also lovely Frome Valley
        blended to 13 aromatic varieties, Black   Vineyards. Perhaps you’ll turn your passion for
        Mountain Roasts has also just launched a   Pinot into a new hobby.

     4  SIP DRINK TOUR Herefordshire
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