Q&A: Tempted Cider's founder on how childhood memories in NI inspired award-winning venture
Tempted Cider was inspired by Davy Uprichard’s childhood memories, making wine as a hobby with his father. In 2009, Davy, a horticulturist by trade, set up a small cidery at his family home in the heart of Northern Ireland and began pressing apples.
Tempted is now the most-awarded cider in Ireland.
Q. How did you discover your passion for cider-making?
I used to make beer and fruit wine with my father, Jim. While our beer wasn’t that popular, our wine was a huge hit with the neighbours and our family. When my father passed away, I kept up cider-making as a hobby. He had a real passion for local produce and local technique and I wanted to share the skills he had taught me with others.
It really was just a hobby, making juice and cider in very small quantities but overtime it became so popular, and neighbours were asking for it for special occasions and the like. I thought ‘I think we might have something here’ and with my wife Janet by my side, we went for it establishing in 2009 and making our first commercial cider in 2010.
Q. Some ciders have a bad rep for their watered-down taste and colourless appearance. Is craft cider changing the game and re-building the category?
We do things very differently to some of the bigger brands and our cider-making technique will never change. We’re proud that our cider contains 100% apple juice.
Craft cider is all about the apples, how they are used and where they come from. People often say to us that they are surprised at how intense the apple flavours in our cider are and to deliver that isn’t easy. There is hard work and knowledge poured into every drop of our cider and although we can’t make huge quantities at once, the end result is worth it.
Each Tempted style from Dry to Medium to Elderflower has its own unique flavour profile but each one celebrates Irish technique and Irish apples - that point of difference is putting our cider on the map both at home and abroad. The last few years, particularly, we’ve seen an increase in consumer appreciation for local craft and artisan. Our customer understands quality, is keen to discover new styles and expects a full taste experience from their cider.
Q. What does it take to be a good cider-maker?
I think it’s that passion for provenance paired with a passion for quality. If those two things are important to you - you won’t want to make just any cider, you’ll want to make the best cider. Knowing how to select the finest apples is key, after all you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.
We source our apples from both the Orchard County of Armagh and Co. Tipperary.
The sharpest attention to detail is needed at the blending and filling process. It’s important to me that we deliver the award-winning quality that our drinkers now know and love so I’m on hand every time we blend, sharing the knowledge and insight I learned from my father at every step. The blending is actually one of my favourite parts of the cider-making process - developing a new flavour or bring an existing cider style to life is really exciting. You’d be surprised how complex local apples are when you get going!
Q. Tempted is a full family effort. Can you tell us a bit about what a day on the orchard is like?
When we first started, I was still working my day job as owner of a plant nursery. It wasn’t until 2013 that Tempted became full-time, but at every step of the way, right from the start, it was a full family effort.
The Tempted brand name and snake-inspired logo were designed by my daughter Sara, even her husband Joe became part of the family team as web designer and photographer. My wife, Janet is kept busy managing our social media. You’ll always see Janet and I side-by-side at trade shows or other tasting events.
Day-to-day, my time is spent monitoring the flavour development of our cider styles. It can take quite some time to realise the full flavour profile and and make sure each blend is just right. Although it takes a lot of patience, there final product is always something I’m proud to have the family name connected to.
Q. Cider is often associated with summer. Are there any particular cider styles suited to the winter?
For entertaining over Christmas, I’d personally recommend our Elderflower style - it’s light and fruit and a real crowd pleaser, perfect for both cider fans and those new to cider so it’s definitely one to have in the fridge over the festive period. In fact, this style not only received 3 stars at the Great Taste Awards 2017 but it is also featured in the 2017 Great Taste Top 50 Foods List - for it to be considered one of the best fifty products in the UK this year is both rewarding and motivating, something we’re incredibly proud of.
The Tempted journey started with our Dry style. I couldn’t find a dry cider that I liked at the time so I blended this fruity, fresh and floral cider to suit my own palate and here we are. This style isn’t bone dry, rather crisp and refreshing - the perfect accompaniment for Christmas dinner.
When mulled with some cloves, some ginger, a little nutmeg, cinnamon and muscovado sugar, our Medium Dry cider delivers delicious layers of festive flavour. At this time of the year, I like to garnish with a wedge of orange, pour it into my favourite mug and relax by the fire.”
Q. What are your thoughts on the cider industry locally and further afield?
Craft cider-making in Ireland is a promising, passionate industry. There is a real ambition amongst cider-makers to showcase local produce and develop new styles to put both Irish apples and Irish technique on the international map. Our five styles are now available across Ireland so 2018 is set to be a busy but exciting year.
Our appreciation for the humble Irish apple won’t stop any time soon - we’ve just started to look to international markets in hopes of replicating the popularity of Tempted Cider at home, overseas.
For more information, visit @TemptedCider or temptedcider.com
Belfast Telegraph Digital