Our most pressing Q & A yet... Meet Silly Moo Cider
"The cider industry is bursting with inspiring producers at the moment, especially in Sussex - Starvecrow, Ascension, Wobblegate, Bignose & Beardy and many more – all creating unique and tasty tipples! We are in great company."
It's not everyday that a cider brand forms and wins a double star Great Taste Award. But today is one of those days, as we've got award winning Sussex Cider brand Silly Moo Cider in the hot seat.
To get to the core of their success copywriters from Words Do The Talking have had the pleasure of tasting their first class tipple, explored the concept of apple-swapping and discovered how it's possible for a farm to really get their pippy paws into the cider industry.
Sit back, grab a cider and enjoy reading all about this seriously juicy brand.
Q. Firstly, the name 'Silly Moo Cider', probably the best we've heard. Many brands spend months choosing their name, how did you find the process of choosing your brand's name?
A. It did take a while…! Picking a name is one of the hardest things to do for your brand (not a dissimilar process for naming your child…) because you want it to be memorable, represent your product in the right way and be right for your brand as it changes and grows. We had a few brain storming evenings, and whilst enjoying some cider the name Silly Moo was suggested by a friend - thank you Susan!
We are cattle farmers based in Cowfold and we feed our cows the apples' pulp after pressing, which they go a little silly for – it’s a tribute to our herd.
Q. Where did the idea to start your own cider brand come from? And what makes your cider unique?
A. We wanted to create something delicious from the apples we grow and love drinking cider – it seemed to make sense. Our bottled cider is made from 100% Sussex grown apples (either our own orchard or swapped at our annual cider swap) and has no added sugar or artificial sweeteners – just apple juice! It’s unpasteurised so has an immensely fresh apple flavour. For us, cider should be all about respecting the apple and we aim to honour our delicious Sussex apples.
Q. Tell us a bit about you Rachel - what else makes you tick besides making delicious cider?
A. Farming doesn’t really allow for many off-site hobbies, but I have a puppy named Frank so trying to tire her out is my daily objective - walking come rain or shine. I love cooking, and have recently learned how to make sourdough bread (using our Trenchmore Heritage flour, of course!)
Q. What has been Silly Moo's greatest achievement so far?
A. Our double star Great Taste Award this year! We are still in shock..!
Q. Bravo! And what has been the toughest thing about your brand's journey so far?
A. Probably our product recall last year. We experienced a secondary fermentation in a batch of bottles last spring, which was a result of the way we sterilise our cider - we use a filter rather than heat because we believe it makes for a much fresher apple flavour. We know we have been pushing the boundary of what’s possible and that means some hard learnings along the way.
Q. Tell our readers about your apple swaps and why you choose to do them.
A. We were inspired to do the apple swap thanks to our own garden apple tree – before cider, we would make crumble after crumble but wouldn’t ever be able to use all of the delicious fruit from our own garden. When we started making Silly Moo, we realised we wouldn’t grow enough apples in our orchard and thought swapping our cider for apples would be a great way to use up food that might otherwise go to waste. Plus, we get a great variety of Sussex apples to put in our cider – it’s a win-win!
Q. Who designed your packaging and logo? We love it, it really stands out.
A. Thank you! We have the amazing John Ewles at JKR to thank for our branding – we think he did a brilliant job.
Q. Are there any brands you'd love to collaborate with? And are there any brands which inspire you?
A. Loads! We are talking to Two Tribes Brewery about collaborating on a drink, which will be awesome - especially because our cattle enjoy their spent brewers grains. The cider industry is bursting with inspiring producers at the moment, especially in Sussex - Starvecrow, Ascension, Wobblegate, Bignose & Beardy and many more – all creating unique and tasty tipples! We are in great company.
Q. How have the power of words helped you with your business?
A. Trenchmore Farm isn’t doing the same as other producers and we think it’s really important to be able to share our goals and aspirations with our customers. We want to produce food and drink that taste great and are made sustainably – it’s important we can explain why we do what we do.
Q. Any tips, tricks or advice you'd offer someone just starting their new business venture?
A. Make sure your new business is something you are passionate about – it will be tough and it’s important you know what you are trying to achieve and feel passionate about it. Also, speak to experienced people in the industry you want to get into – we have found that our fellow farmers and cider makers have been really generous with advice and support.
Q. What's next for Silly Moo Cider?
A. We have been elbow deep in mulling spices this week and have just finished blending our first batch of Mulled Cider – I reckon it will be just the thing for the upcoming cold evenings.
Q. And finally (and perhaps most importantly) where can our readers get their hands on a bottle of Silly Moo Cider?
A. We supply a range of independent pubs, shops and restaurants in Sussex and London. If you would like a list of our retailers, please get in touch Rachel@trenchmore.co.uk
Vital business tips to take away
1. Ask experienced brands in your sector for tips and advice
2. Roll with the punches: if you hit a hurdle just keep going and learn from it
3. Talk to, support and work with local businesses for inspiration and encouragement
4. Keep innovating and growing your business by trying new things
5. Use the power of words to tell your customers who, what and why you are.
Can you handle anymore inspiration? If so, click here to read about the startup triathlon brand reinventing sportswear for women.
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