James Crowden

Cider Country (Longlisted for the 2021 Andre Simon Food & Drink Award)

Cidermaking has been at the heart of country life for hundreds of years. However, the fascinating story of how this drink came into existence and why it became so deeply rooted in the nation’s psyche has never been told. To answer these questions, James Crowden traces an elusive history stretching back to the ancient, myth-infused civilisations of the Mediterranean and the wild apple forests of Kazakhstan.

Meeting cider experts, farmers and historians, he unearths the surprising story of an apple that travelled from east to west and proved irresistible to everyone who tasted it.  But the nation’s love-affair with cider didn’t fully blossom until after the Reformation, when thirst for knowledge about the drink was at its peak. This infatuation with experimentation would lead to remarkable innovations and the creation of a ‘sparkling cider’, a technique that pre-dated Dom Pérignon’s champagne by forty years.

Turning to the present day, Crowden meets the new generation of cider makers and unearths a unique philosophy that has been shared through the ages. In the face of real challenges, these enterprising cider makers are still finding new ways to produce the mystical golden drink enjoyed by so many.

Spanning centuries and continents, ‘Cider Country’ tells the story of our country through the culture, craft and consumption of our most iconic rural drink.


Date and Time

13 October 2022 at 2:15 pm


St Michael's Church, Mere

Ticket Prices

£10.00 per person

Tickets for this talk will be available 11 August for Friends of the Festival, general sale will be available 18 August 2022.

Friends of the Festival Tickets

General Admission Tickets

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