Himachal cider is the result of an idea developed by a Yorkshireman, David White and his Indian friend and business partner, Clive Fernandes in the summer of 2014. David and Clive had worked together in the IT industry for nearly 25 years and were looking for an entirely new direction and business opportunity.

Having a passion for Indian food and the odd libation to go with it, they recognised that the growth of Indian or Indian style beer as a curry accompaniment might give them an opportunity to find a market for a new drink to complement the spicy food – Indian cider.

India, and particularly the northern Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh has a long history of apple cultivation producing and exporting high quality eating apples but without any substantial history of cider making. On visits to India the two business partners looked for potential suppliers and the technology and equipment required to enable them to create a new cider, entirely authentically, in India using Indian apples. The cidery is located just outside the hill station of Shimla nearly 7000 feet above sea level and produces a traditional style cider using old fashioned, labour intensive techniques with the entire growing, production and bottling taking place in Himachal Pradesh and so Himachal cider was born.

David and Clive took various established British ciders out to India and worked with

local craftsmen to create a new cider that would be clearly recognisable to English cider drinkers but remain true to its unique origins and heritage. The partners had always had the intention of producing a hand crafted natural product and unlike the vast bulk of factory made British ciders they wanted a cider with no added sugar. The fantastic Himachali apples provided enough sweetness to enable them to craft a lightly sparkling, medium dry cider without the need for added sugar and the result is that Himachal is one of the healthiest ciders on the market being relatively low in calories and very low in carbohydrates when compared to its competitors.

Himachal raised launch capital through a crowdfunding programme in the UK and Himachal cider finally arrived and hit the shelves early in 2016 where it was initially marketed principally to Indian restaurants. David and Clive, whose IT business operated from Burnley in Lancashire set up the UK end of the cider business in the same area and focused their early sales efforts locally in Yorkshire and Lancashire but increasingly across the UK as demand for the product developed.

Himachal also developed other sales channels and sells directly online through and also to a growing number of specialist retailers and non-Indian bars and restaurants. Clive led the charge at a range of food festivals across the UK throughout the summer of 2016 exposing Himachal to a wider public and helping us catch the eye of restaurants, retailers and distributors at the same time. The festival events will be expanded greatly in 2017 and Himachal will be seen at food festivals across the UK on most weekends during the coming summer.

Distribution is challenging for a small business like Himachal and catching the eye of the big distributors who dominate the UK drinks market is difficult. Himachal doesn’t have the resources of the big brewers but has been able to support its restaurant customers with beautiful custom made glassware and a range of offers and promotions.

Himachal is also working hard to develop 34 MARCH 2017

its domestic business in India where cider drinkers currently have very limited options and they are planning initially to focus on the tourist areas such as Goa and Kerala as well as the big cities such as Clive’s hometown, Mumbai.

The key to Himachal is its authenticity, Indian restaurant goers may have seen other “Indian” ciders in recent months but like much of the Indian beer in the market it is invariably brewed here in the UK and has only the most tenuous links to any kind of Indian origin.

Himachal cider is the real thing. An Indian cider that is actually crafted and produced in the Himalayan foothills of Northern India

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