When news happens, text AND and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
The Cider Man is on a mission
LEE Ocean is a man on a mission – to bring “Great British ciders to the Great British public.”
That’s the business mantra of Lee, who in June set up his business venture called The Cider Orchard.
It primarily started as an online business selling traditionally made cider, but Lee’s enthusiasm and passion for the drink has led to The Cider Orchard branching out to providing fully licensed pop-up bars for festivals, weddings and business events.
“First and foremost, I love cider,” said the Basingstoke-based businessman.
“This idea started as a one-stop shop for anything cider-related – that was my vision. But actually, what I’ve found through talking to people at events and on social media is that people want to see the product, talk to me about it and try it. And then they actually like the product more, rather than just seeing a picture on a website.”
As someone who has been drinking cider for 15 years, he has seen changes in the industry, particularly in recent years with the explosion of popular mass-produced cider made by the likes of Magners and Bulmers.
Lee said: “I felt the real cider which I love, whether it’s scrumpy or traditionally-made cider with fruit added, has started to get pushed out of the market.
“So I thought, ‘how do I get traditional proper cider back into the market place?’ – and that’s where the idea for the business came from.”
Lee has partnered with several traditional cider makers who use apples from British orchards, like Mr Whitehead’s Cider Company, in Selborne, and West Berkshire producer Ciderniks.
“We sell a broad spectrum of cider,” said Lee. “For traditionalists, we have scrumpy cider with the sediments still in the bottle, which is really dry with a full bodied flavour, and at the other end of the scale we have more modern ciders, which are still traditionally made ciders but with just a little bit of fruit added so they are really nice, fresh tasting ciders for those who just want to sit down on an evening with a barbecue and enjoy a couple of bottles.”
Lee has attended several events this summer, including Old Basing Carnival, where judging from the queues to his bar, The Cider Orchard proved to be a real hit.
“People can have a try and tell us what they think about the cider and ask questions which is great,” he said.
Comments are closed on this article.