Ten years ago, Scotland had only four commercial cider makers. Today there are 28, and 40 per cent of these new businesses started in the past four years. So what’s behind this success story?

The Cider Expert and Author

Gabe Cook is known as ‘the ciderologist’. He’s a global cider expert and author of Modern British Cider (CAMRA 2021). “It’s a very exciting time in Scottish cider,” he says. “There are products which are really boundary-pushing, presented in 750ml bottles, not trying to be wine but demonstrating cider is a drink that can be consumed on the same occasions wine might be, and enjoyed with food. You can have it out of a wine glass, it doesn’t have to be drunk by the pint. Not that there’s anything wrong with cider by the pint but there are some ciders that deserve to be savoured and respected in that way.”

The Bar Manager and Founder of The Scottish Cider Bulletin

Tommy Newbold founded his website “to give this new emerging Scottish cider tradition a voice and promote collaboration, sustainability, and to really champion the new things that are going on”. Tommy says the pandemic inspired more people to start making cider: everyone was at home and sunny 2020 was a bumper year for apples
“Scottish Cider has this unique opportunity,” says Tommy, “It’s not English cider, which has thousands of years of history in tradition behind it. We can be a new world cider country. We can do experimental things, and push the boat out. We don’t have to stick to tradition.”

The Cider Sellers

Every cider enthusiast I speak to credits Anstruther cider shop Aeble for galvanising the Scottish cider industry. The shop was opened two years ago by Grant Hutchison (drummer with Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad) and partner Jaye. Cider could have no finer ambassadors than this hard-working couple.
Both long-term fans of artisanal cider, Jaye says they were inspired by their honeymoon in Japan, saying: “We really loved how in the culture there, you can really thrive by having a very particular specialist shop. Just doing one thing and doing it really well. We thought maybe one day we’d open a cider bar.”

That dream became Aeble, Scotland’s first cider shop. Jaye and Grant have a brilliant connection with cider producers. “We’re so passionate about our shop because we know all our makers,” Jaye says. “We’ve been to their orchards and we speak to them all the time and we’ve got really good relationships.” 
Making cider is very time consuming Jaye says. “It’s a really big commitment. I don’t think anyone in the cider industry would say you get into it for the money. No matter the size of the orchard, the amount of physical labour and love that goes into it is completely all-encompassing. You wouldn’t do it unless you absolutely loved it.”

Jaye sees an increased confidence in the industry, noting: “For a long time Scottish makers felt they had to buy fruit from elsewhere to make cider, often using traditional cider apples from the south west. 
“Now you’re seeing a lot of Scottish cider using homegrown fruit and local orchards. Scottish culinary apples have a more sharp, acidic finish, but they taste amazing. They’re so fresh and so different to the west country ones. 
“There’s been a real push in Scottish cider makers being passionate about using what’s local and realizing you can make incredible cider using Scottish apples.”

The Tap Room

In two years Edinburgh Cider Co. have gone from hobby homebrewers to opening Scotland’s first cider-only tap room, The Cider House. Making craft-beer style dry cider, co-owner Jim Lamb says: “We want to show people what cider can really do. You can try something really dry, something sweeter, something hoppy – it inspires a lot of conversation.”

The Producers


When farmers Roger and Rachel Howison decided to diversify their farm, they discovered monks from Lindores Abbey (founded 1191) had once made cider here. “We didn’t want to plant a conventional orchard,” Rachel says. “In an effort to make a good environmental choice, we read about agroforestry and loved the idea of alley cropping which enables us to grow our malting barley for the whisky industry, and our apples side by side. We underplanted the trees with a permanent wildflower mix, which attracts pollinators and pest-eating insects so that our apples can grow, unsprayed. These strips have become permanent fixtures that improve biodiversity in what would typically be mono fields of barley. We wanted to create a beautiful product that would celebrate our unique Scottish history and complement the growing food and drink scene in Fife, and are so happy Aipple is being received so well.”


Peter Crawford makes cider from apples planted in his walled garden near St Andrews. As a Champagne expert and importer, Peter says: “My real passion is the production of the cider, how different that can be depending on how hands off or on you are: controlling the fermentation, using different types of barrels.’’ Naughton cider is vinified in ex-Champagne barrels for 10 months, then bottled with Champagne yeast for a further two years. The 2022 vintage is due to be released this summer.


A celebration of Scottish cider will be held for a second year at Guardswell Farm this August: a wonderful opportunity to meet Scottish makers and taste their wares (August 19th, Guardswell Farm).