Harry’s Cider is a family business, set up by farmer Harry Fry, that makes award-winning craft cider from the heart of the Somerset countryside. Based on the family farm in Long Sutton near Langport, this up-and-coming brand is already turning heads, winning national and global competition medals, as well as regularly gaining new customers and distributors – including celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s Perfectionist Café in London.
Harry: “I set the business up a few years ago. I was looking to diversify from dairy farming due to the decreasing price of milk. I’m a farmer through and through, with five generations of my family on both sides all farming within 30-miles of where I am today – stretching across Somerset from Chard to Yeovil, and up to Langport. But I needed a new challenge and realised that I had the raw materials for making cider at my fingertips.”
Harry’s father had planted a traditional cider apple orchard in the late 1970s and was supplying fruit to another local cider company. The warm, damp climate and good depth of soil provided the ideal conditions for growing traditional cider apple trees, so Harry started by making his own cider from the surplus apples in his father’s orchards, before fully taking over the orchards when his father retired five years ago.
Having completed a course on the principles of cider making, he set to work, through trial and error, on creating a cider with just the right balance of flavour, length and complexity – ‘Harry’s Cider’.
Harry: “Family continues to be central to the business. I manage the orchards and make the cider, ably assisted by my son, Toby. Meanwhile my partner, Alison runs the commercial side of the business. Toby also handles the marketing activity, and my daughters – Lizzie and Jess – help out at some of the many events that Harry’s Cider takes part in across the South West.”
Today the company produces sparkling and traditional ciders from a range of apple varieties, including Browns Apple, Dabinett, Harry Masters Jersey and Yarlington Mills, with a focus on quality and provenance being key to their success.
As with many craft ciders, Harry’s chosen blend is something of a signature that has been worked on and refined over several years. Made on the family farm using high quality ingredients, Harry’s Cider is currently growing by at least 50% year-on-year.
The ciders are also attracting more and more attention thanks to a sweep of recent awards, with medals from the Taste of the West Awards, the British Cider Championships, and the globally recognised, industry-led International Cider Challenge. In addition, Harry’s Cider was awarded 2016 Champion Cider from the South West of England Cidermakers’ Association.
So why does Harry, and the company, love Somerset?
Harry: “We love Somerset for its diverse range of fine food and drink. We are very spoilt in this part of the country, with stunning scenery and unbeatable produce, and we’re incredibly proud to be part of that, crafting award-winning ciders in the heart of the Somerset ‘ciderland’.”