By Debbie James

A Welsh farm can now sell cider and perry grown from its own apples and pears after securing a premises licence.

Jim and Kate Beavan produce around 700 gallons a year in a 17th century cider house at Great Tre-rhew near Abergavenny.

Some of the fruit that goes into producing it grow in an orchard planted with apple and pear trees a short walk from that barn.

When the orchard is fully matured, it should produce enough to allow the business to be fully self-sufficient in fruit.

The farm is a popular venue for farm courses but, with these cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the cider business became Kate’s lockdown project.

She has now secured a licence and cider can be purchased direct from the farm.

When the Beavans decided to investigate selling it commercially and invited environmental health officers in, Kate admits she was nervous.

“We thought they were going to want wall-to-wall stainless steel but we were assured that the process of cider making kills everything, in fact people used to baptise babies in it because it was considered purer than water!

“They gave us a five-star rating.”

The business has been granted a full premises licence to sell alcohol.

A pop-up pub is another business venture Kate is now exploring.

It is now nearly time to harvest the fruit to make this year’s brew.

“The trees have a good crop of apples and pears,’’ Kate reports. “We are now counting down to scrumping season and cider making in October and November.

Cider has been made on the farm since 1696 when farm workers’ wages regularly included cider; this was brought to an end in 1887 when the Truck Act made it illegal.

Kate is persuasive in her argument that cider has health giving properties too. “It counts are one of your five a day because it is made purely of apples. And by all accounts it burns off fat too!’’

The couple are currently working on branding for their cider and perry.