In January this year, Dick Withecombe (@FormerCiderBuzz) posted a link to Eleanor Leger’s (of Eden Cidery fame) excellent Cidernomics site where the welcome message struck a chord.
In this, Eleanor writes about how important hype is for the underdog cidermakers, and small producers in general. She wrote
“… without hype, consumers won’t learn about the underdogs – the small entrepreneurs who are trying to bring high quality, ‘real’ food back to the market. And unless consumers start purchasing from these underdogs, they won’t be able to overcome the obstacles that the modern food system poses for them”.
In our small COVID-induced WhatsApp group of cidermakers and a bit on Twitter, we discussed this a little, and I came to the conclusion that, these days, Hype is a commodity that, like any other, is often in the unwitting control of the few. Usually deservedly so in our small cidersphere. However, as a tiny producer it can often be hard to be seen above the parapet, so without the publicity machinery that accompanies true hype generators it is easy to remain as an underdog even in the tightknit community of artisinal cidermakers.
I reckoned the solution should be to make our own hype. Literally. And bottle it. One other tiny maker was on board, but their hype is reluctant to finish fermenting, but delayed hype is even better!
Now I humbly present Kertelreiter #HYPE 2020, a very limited edition dry cider co-fermented on a bed of whole sloes for 5 months. That made things a little difficult, I have to say, but I like the result. The idea came from old German texts where a multitude of additions to cider were suggested, including sloes. We have already released the 1806 Spiced Perry, which was inspired by recipes form similar historical sources.
As life returns to almost normal, the focus on social media seems to have waned, and with it probably a lot of the excitement for new releases and online hype. But this bottle of actual #hype will age well and can be kept for those times you need it most. And for a cider that is extremely limited in availability (I made 30L as a test, but thanks to the loose sloes, the racking was… challenging), reasonably priced, as hype doesn’t need to cost the earth.
I would like to see more small makers making their own annual hype, so I invite all small makers (and I mean small makers) to join us this year and make your own hype. It doesnt even have to be something completely out of the norm, though maybe it’s a good excuse to have a bit of fun and try somehting different. If you do want to join in, let me know!
#Hype 2020 is available in our mixed boxes, but be warned, supply is extremely limited.