Here’s a bit of history about the evolution of Old Mout Cider. Don’t worry, you won’t be tested on it.
It all started rather quietly on a cycling trip to England – when the legendary first lady of Nelson cider, Wanda Tait and her husband Giff sampled the local Scrumpy.
Back in New Zealand, tonnes of orchardists made cider themselves out of the apples that wouldn’t win any beauty contests, but still tasted bloody marvellous. Giff was keen on making cider from an early age, and so the legend of Old Mout began.
The cidery was originally set up in a small shed, before the current Press House was built in 1965. The ‘Black Budget’ of 1964 saw the tax on imported booze skyrocket, so a good locally made drop became even more appealing, and Old Mout was humming along nicely – growing an infamous cult following among students and fruit pickers.
Sadly, the originator of Old Mout 23% “Rocket Fuel” (Giff) passed away in the late ‘60s, but the legend carried on, helped along by the 70’s popularity of local fruit wines and cider. There wasn’t much cash around – just tonnes of fruit and plenty of kiwi ingenuity to keep it going. And Redwood Cellars (makers of Old Mout and formerly Noslen Wines) made some of the best out there.
Then in 1981, the fruit wine and cider boom went a bit quiet and Wanda sold up– things had changed a bit. Traditional ciders fell out of favour, as a generation got shoulder pads, pushed up their jacket sleeves and sipped trendy ‘80s wine coolers. Without the love it deserved, Redwood Cellars changed hands a few times during the next few years.
Luckily, two young fellas called Justin and Scottie bought the business in 2006. They wanted to recapture the passion that had gone into starting Old Mout ages ago, and had some fond – if slightly patchy – memories of drinking it at university. So over the next two summers, Old Mout Scrumpy and Old Mout Cidré (now Classic Apple) were given a freshen up and in 2008 Old Mout Feijoa & Cider was born from experimenting with extra fruit from Redwood’s fruit winemaking.
Not content to sit still for long, cider maker Merophy Hyslop blended Old Mout with some very good boysenberry wine, testing it by using our staff as guinea pigs. Most of the staff survived, and in October of 2009 a bright young thing called Boysencider joined the Old Mout family.
We’ve been working pretty hard on our cider for more than 60 years – but we’re always keen to find new ways to do it better. So be on the lookout as we think up tasty new ways to make fruit more useful in the future.