Bilpin is a land of opportunity. In 1823, 19-year-old Archibald Bell established the area while forging a pass through the Blue Mountains.
Replete with fertile soil, a high elevation and a mild climate, the area proved itself perfect for agriculture and premium orchards, and in time became known as the ‘land of the mountain apple’.
In 2011 Sean Prendergast also saw the region’s potential. After two decades managing drinks brands such as Corona, Beck’s and Stella Artois, as well as founding his own beer-import company, Sean saw a demand for a premium cider, locally produced and made from pure crushed apples. He bought a disused orchard – Pippindale Orchard – in Bilpin and the Bilpin Cider Co. was born.
Sean brought on board local orchard professional , John Galbraith, to restore the orchard to its former glory. As a result, the Bilpin Cider Co. farm now features a new planting of Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Red Delicious apples. Apple harvest time is generally February through to June and once harvested, the fruit is crushed and combined into a range of crisp ciders, with each cider expressing the characteristics of the apple variety. True to Sean’s vision, the cider-making process is kept pure and simple, with no sugar, concentrates, gluten or syrups added.
The Bilpin Original hits an ideal balance – not too sweet and not too dry, it’s Bilpin Cider Co.’s signature drop for good reason. For a different flavour profile, try the Bilpin Blush, made from only Pink Lady Apples, delivering a
crisp, clean and refreshing taste. If your tastes run drier, opt for the Bilpin Archibald – named for the area’s founder all those centuries ago, it’s a cloudy, complex cider made by adding unfiltered and unfermented apple juice towards the end of the process.
If apple cider doesn’t pique your interest, opt for the pear variety. Sweet and dry with a delicious smoky aroma, it’s the perfect alternative to traditional apple cider. Teetotalers need not fear, there’s also a non-alcoholic option, a blend of freshly crushed Granny Smith, Pink Lady and Red Delicious apples with plenty of flavour and sweetness.
There’s no better place to sip a crisp cider than in a beautiful orchard, and at the Bilpin Cider Co. Cellar Door, you can do just that. Set amongst the national parkland and World Heritage-listed peaks of the Blue Mountains region, the Cellar Door is a scenic spot to spend the afternoon sampling the range of ciders. The staff will be happy to share their knowledge of the cider-making process and help you find your perfect drink. After the tastings, stroll around the 10-acre farm and meet the alpacas and sheep, before stocking up on some seasonal fruit, local honey and, of course, your favourite ciders.
With Bilpin Cider Co., Sean is carrying on the pioneering spirit that led Archibald Bell to create that first mountain pass. Inspired by the beauty and bounty of the region, he has established a pure craft-cider range that makes the most of Bilpin’s best produce.