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West Bradford couple turn cider hobby into a business
THINGS are bubbling up nicely for Lancashire’s only traditional cider makers as a hobby looks set to mature into a business.
Two years ago commercial landscaper and gardener Michael Creighton was looking for “something to do” because he was getting a bit bored.
So the Waddington-raised 58-year-old and his Burnley-born wife Joanna set up the Dove Syke Cider Company at a nursery in Eaves Hall Lane, West Bradford.
Now, having spent tens of thousands on the equipment to press and ferment the apples, the couple have a ‘Best Cider’ award from the Clitheroe Beer Festival under their belt and are starting to break even.
The company produce three main varieties of still cider in bottles and bag-in-the-boxes under the ‘Ribble Valley Gold’ label at Dove Syke Nursery as well as one-off single apple specialities.
They also host family days and visits to show local people and children how the ancient drink is made the traditional way.
As well as fuelling festivals, including this weekend’s Cider and Perry Festival in Bamber Bridge, last month’s Beatherders in Sawley and September’s Burnley Beer Festival, the company supplies more than 30 pubs and hotels across East Lancashire and as far North as Lancaster.
Among their clients are the Inn at Whitewell, the Swan with Two Necks in Pendleton, the Bridge Bier Huis in Burnley, the Bayley Arms in Hurst Green, No 39 Bar in Darwen, and The Fat Giraffe in Padiham, while Ribble Valley MP and House of Commons deputy speaker Nigel Evans is a fan.
Mr Creighton said: “We planted an orchard with 120 trees and we use fruit from those and apples donated by local people who we invite to tastings.”
Mrs Creighton said: “It was a good idea of Michael’s.
“ It’s gone really well and I might even be able to give up work in NHS occupational therapy and take it up full-time.”