Meet Brooks and Conquest
Peter Brooks and Mark Conquest got together about 5 years ago. With the idea of creating the type of Cyder they remember drinking growing up.
Mark Conquest grew up in Cambridgeshire and spent his youth working in his family’s fruit growing business supplying wholesale markets as far afield as Yorkshire and London, as well as selling at the ‘farm gate’.
Peter Brooks moved to Cambridgeshire as a child. He tried his hand at a variety of jobs whilst growing up, often involving fruit picking of some kind, which instilled a passion for locally grown produce and fruit production.
The apples used come from orchards that are about 100 years old and the trees are now about 6-8 metres tall (So the real ‘old fashioned’ style). Mark’s Grandfather & Father have a 70 year history of working the orchard and he himself for well over 20 years. No longer selling to markets and wholesalers the apples are now picked to turn into Cyder.
No sprays are applied to the trees, and through a unique ‘database system’ they achieve full traceability of what crate of apples came from which trees.
The Cyder is then ‘made’ in Peter’s barn in Somersham, just a mile up the road from the orchard.
The Conquest orchards have been in the family for over 70 years. The trees are of a rigorous growth type known as M25. Most of the trees are some 7-8 metres high and between the two orchard both cooking and eating apples are grown. The rapid growth of the apples allows us to call our Cyders ‘Grand Cru’ the literally translation means “Great Growth”
Harvesting takes place between September & November each year, mainly by allowing the fruit to fall naturally and then collected from the ground.
Once the apples have all be crated up they are move to our barn in Somersham, just a few miles up the road. A ‘scratter’ (similar to garden shredder) is then used to crush the apples into pulp or pomace. We then use a ‘Hydro Press’ to extract the juice which is then transferred into an Oak Barrel known as a ‘Hogshead’ which contains approximately 300 Litres or 66 Imperial Gallons or 79 US Gallons.
It ferments for around 6 months before being filtered. The Cyders is filtered again through a Hand Bottling system and pasteurised.
Our Cyder is a traditional style ‘Still’ Cyder.
We currently produce a limited quantity of no more than 7000 Litres (or just over 9000 750ml/75Cl Bottles) per year. Traditional Cyder is made from a single pressing of vintage fruit, rather like “extra virgin” olive oil.
Cider is made from the Cyder pulp being re-hydrated & pressed again.
In olden times the Gentry were served Cyder and the farm labourers were given the re-pressed Cider (instead of water) as it was cleaner.