The first commercial West of Scotland cider – using discarded apples destined for the compost heap – has been released for sale to the public.

Clyde Cider, with an ABV of 5per cent, was brewed in Greenock and uses apples donated from gardens and orchards in Helensburgh, Cardross, Greenock, the Clyde Valley and Glasgow under an “apple amnesty” scheme.

It is believed to be the first urban cider to be made commercially in the West of Scotland since medieval times, when the city was awash with apple and pear orchards in areas like Govan, Gorbals and the Merchant City.

The new drink is the brainchild of John Hancox, who has been running Scottish Orchards and the Commonwealth Orchard projects to help revive the ancient Scottish tradition of apple growing and to educate children in how to cultivate orchards and to end our reliance on imported fruit in supermarkets.

Around 800 years ago Scotland grew a large number of heritage varieties in the orchards of monasteries and grand country houses. “The Merchant City of Glasgow is built on the site of an old pear orchard, so there’s a long history of people growing food in urban areas,” says Hancox.

Now, however, more than 70per cent of apples for sale in British shops are grown abroad and shipped in and it’s estimated that up to 90per cent of the UK’s orchards have been grubbed up for development or agricultural use.

One of Hancox’s growing successes has been the planting of a new orchard in the walled garden behind Castlemilk stables in the east end of Glasgow.

He said: "What really annoys me at this time of year is that there are loads of apple trees in Scotland, dripping with fruit that doesn't get picked.

"Bringing in fruit from New Zealand, Canada or France when you've got perfectly good fruit on the trees not being picked seems completely crazy."

For his new brew, he also invited ordinary people to give him apples from last year’s glut that otherwise would be thrown away. His 2015 vintage is set to be released in around two months.

Mr Hancox said: "We used apples that were left over after the eaters and cookers were finished, so it’s a mixture of lots of different varieties.

“It’s a dry craft cider with a slightly nutty finish, to be drunk alone or with food.”

Clyde Cider is already selling well at around £3 a bottle at off-sales Valhalla’s Goat and The Cave, and in the Ubiquitous Chip restaurant and bar.

Marshall Ross, head sommelier at the Ubiquitous Chip, said: "We were introduced to John when he came to visit our LochLibo farm and talked to us about possibly planting apple trees. We had been looking for interesting ciders besides the big boys like Magners and were completely taken with John’s story and ethos.

“A small production, hand written labels, foraging and trading apples for cider and it’s made in Glasgow? You could say it is Scottish to the core.”