Members of Wellington Business Association were given an insight into the booming but traditional cider industry on a recent visit to Sheppy’s cider-works, guided by Louisa Sheppy.
Five generations of the Sheppy family have made cider since 1816 – since 1817 at Three Bridges Farm. To celebrate Sheppy’s bicentenary, the founder’s great great grandson David and his wife Louisa are deep into an ambitious and wide-ranging programme of redevelopment at the farm.
Scaffolding surrounds the landmark red brick building which was the press house and bottling line. This will be converted – imaginatively – into an extension and enlargement of the existing farm shop. Most of the rest of the building will become a restaurant with an upper gallery, a catering kitchen, additional cafe, dining area, bar and snug room for functions and weddings..
Five-minutes walk away are 22-acres of newly planted apple trees. “It will be another eight to ten years before we’re able to crop this orchard,” said Louisa. “And we then hope it will be productive for another 40 years plus. This is a business for the long-term.”
Sheppy’s has already completed a redevelopment of the processing plant over the last 3 years, introducing state-of-the-art equipment at each stage of cider-making from pressing through to storage and bottling. The plant now produces 2.5 million litres of cider annually, both own-label and for retail giants such as Marks & Spencer, and provides employment for 35 people, some part-time.