ALL THE ANSWERS TO ALL THE QUESTIONS YOU HAVE ABOUT OUR BUSINESS. IF YOU THINK SOMETHING'S MISSING OR CAN'T FIND WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR, GET IN CONTACT.
HERE'S HOW IT WORKS - AKA "THE CIDER HOUSE RULES"
Firstly bring your apples to us. Sorry we don't pick or collect apples ourselves but can work with a 3rd party to make this happen, see point 17.
BRING THEM TO:
Unit 15, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester, M16 7WD.
If the gate is locked, just hop out of your vehicle and buzz at the gates, security will let you in.
WEIGHING YOUR FRUIT:
We weigh your apples when you bring them to us. We call this your ‘Dry Weight’.
We estimate that we can extract 50% of the juice from your donation we call this your 'Wet Weight'.
FREE CIDER OR JUICE IN RETURN - WE CALL IT "THE 25% RULE"
From 2016 onwards say you bring us 100kg of fruit.
We guarantee that we can extract 50 litres of the juice from these apples.
You get 25% of that 50 litres bottled for FREE on the same day (see below) so that's 12.5 litres or 25 bottles.
The next 25% is optional to buy at our wholesale price (£2 per bottle, no discount).
The remaining 50% (or more) is then available to purchase at RRP (£3.50) from our shop with with a hefty 25% discount.
The above example also works for our juice ranges too.
WAIT, IT GETS BETTER
We're also giving each registered donor 25% off all our non Moss Cider stock from our craft cider shop, you're in the club after all so why not pick up some extra cider goodness. That's a year round deal, so worth popping back for. That includes all of our other stock including ciders from the likes of Hogan’s, Aspall, L’Atipique, Thistly Cross and more.
If you plan on bringing us more than 200kgs (more than a car full) then please let us know in advance of your planned arrival. We may ask you to come at a pre arranged time.
PREVIOUS DONORS & BOTTLE DEPOSITS
PLEASE NOTE WE NO LONGER ACCEPT BOTTLE RETURNS. PLEASE RECYCLE ALL GLASS AT HOME.
We will consider custom labelling again this year. Although this is a service you'll have to wait until the following spring to collect and will not be subject to the free cider deal. You'll pay £0.95 a bottle for the first 25% of your donation and the same £2.00 a bottle thereafter.
So rather than your bottles saying "Donor Cider" you could use your family name, or whatever you can think up, within reason! It will still be labelled "not for resale" but we feel this will make your bottles all the more special. As we know so many of you like to give our cider out as gifts. This will be subject to a further admin fee. We'll hopefully have all these details sorted by the time you drop your apples off.
THE STYLE OF CIDER WE PRODUCE:
Your apples will be processed with others from across the region. This gives us a more balanced cider/juice and means we can maximise space in our containers. We cannot guarantee you will get your juice back. Our cider tends to be dry, tangy but highly quaffable. It's best served chilled and mulls really well at Christmas time. We add a small amount of sugar to most batches during bottling this usually helps any remaining yeast cells to reawaken and 'condition' the cider in the bottle. Hopefully giving each batch a nice sparkle and bubble on the tongue. As our cider is a living product you may find some sediment at the bottom of each bottle, so pour carefully and serve chilled.
We can only process cider for you if you are 18 or over, please don't be offended if we ask for proof of age.
1. What do I get if I donate apples to you and is there a minimum amount?
We'll never turn a good apple down, but if you want cider or juice in return you'll need a minimum of 12 kilos. That would get you 1.5litres back for free of either juice or cider and the option to buy another 1.5litres at our wholesale price.
2. Can I join in on the juicing?
Yes, we love our donors and the wider community getting involved. Just sign up for a session on our volunteer page HERE.
3. Why do I only get 25% of my wet weight?
We like to think we're offering a pretty good service. We’re turning your apples into cider or juice. We have invested a lot of time, effort, energy and cash into buying equipment to process your donation. Plus there are our overheads of rent, utilities, rates and now after 5 years of pressing we have staff costs too.
4. Where can I buy your cider?
See our stockist list here: themossciderproject.org/stockists/
5. I’ve made an apple donation so when will my cider be ready for collection?
As long as stock levels are good you'll walk away on the day with your juice or cider. If you want custom labelling you'll need to wait until the following spring. So for the 2016 season that's around April time as it takes about six months to ferment, mature bottle and label.
6. How long will the cider last?
Our cider is a living product, it will bottle condition and get better with age, like a good wine. There is currently no regulation for a best before date on our bottles.
7. I don’t like cider. Can I have juice instead?
Yes, we have a pasteuriser so if you are donating apples and you would prefer juice in return just let us know. If you catch us at the right time you may even get a fresh sample straight from the press.
8. When you have made the cider what bottles do you use and how much will it cost?
By default your donation will be returned to you in 500ml brown glass, crown capped bottles, this is non-refundable.
You may purchase our bag-in-boxes (20 litres) as part of your give back but you must be owed more that 20 litres. Please note that these come with a £15 surcharge and are not subject to the free bottling offer detailed above. This is due to us working with a 3rd party for bottling and pasteurising costs.
A bag-in-box once opened will remain fresh for up to 3 months. We know some donors like to break down their donation in different ways as you may want to keep some back for yourself for a summer party or allow it to mature until Christmas... it's great mulled. So a couple of bag-in-boxes could be a good option for you. But, you might want to give some bottles away as presents too. We're flexible, you decide. We'll double check that your total amount adds up to your entitled wet-weight.
9. What should we do with the empty bottles?
From 2016 we request that you recycle your bottles at home. We currently do not have the facilities to safely store and wash your bottles effectively.
10. Will I be able to sell the cider you make for me?
No. Your cider will be labelled “NOT FOR RESALE”. If you'd like to sell on our cider please call us and we'll see if we can help you.
11. When do I get my juicecider?
From 2016 you'll get what is owed to you on the day you bring in your fruit... simples.
12. What times are you open?
Our opening times can fluctuate, please check our homepage, social networks and events page for up to date timings.
13. Will you collect my apples or can I bring my apples to you?
We would prefer you to bring us your apples when they are ripe and ready, see point 17.
14. How do I know my apples are ripe?
Most varieties are ready when they come away from the tree with a simple twist of the stalk and their pips are dark brown in colour, not white. Apple trees will often drop some of their crop naturally but you’re likely to notice if you have a pile of apples under your tree, especially during bad weather and strong winds. In fact one of the best ways to strip your tree is to give it a really good shake on the day you want to pick and bring your fruit to us.
15. Do you take fallen or bruised fruit?
We’ll accept all fruit as long as it is not rotten. If you have a lot of fallen apples we’d prefer you to keep these aside so that we can wash and sort them separately from your best looking apples. If you have dogs, cats or other pets that rome about in your garden or are picking wild apples where animal faeces could be present please do not bring us these fallen (windfall) fruits, that's just plain gross!
16. Can you prune my trees for me?
This is currently not a service we offer, although if we get enough requests we may consider running a workshop with the help from a trusted specialist.
17. Will you pick my apples for me and how far will you travel?
We sometimes have volunteers that can pick on our behalf. The charge for this is a further split on your share. The picker will get 50% of your share of the juice (12.5% WW). So we encourage you to drop off as you'd still need to collect your portion of juice or cider.
18. Do you climb trees to pick fruit?
Our own Health & Safety guidelines stipulate strict rules governing this and we simply cannot afford the insurance premium for our staff/volunteers in the event of an accident. In our experience, a good shake will get most of the apples down that are ready... We can’t stop you from climbing your own trees though! Or come and borrow one of our extending apple picking poles.
19. Do you accept pears?
Yes, WE LOVE PEARS! We make a generic apple and pear blend called "Pyder". We’re not too fussy about variety at this stage but preferably when they are still firm and not too mushy.
20. Do you accept crab apples?
Yes please! Crab apples are good for the tannin levels we need for great tasting cider.
21. What types of apple do you accept?
We accept ALL TYPES AND VARIETIES OF APPLES, of every shape and size – from Crab to Cox and Bramley to Braeburn – they all go in the mix. Even the scabby potentially moth eaten ones. Even better if you have a nice rare local variety like the humungous ‘Withington Welter’.
22. Why is it sometimes so hard to get hold of anyone on the phone?
We simple don't have sufficient resource to man the phones 24/7. We also have other commitments that do not allow us to be at the cider house full time. We will call you back so please leave a message or alternatively you could email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
23. What happens if the cider goes bad?
Sometimes we make bad cider. It’s not an inevitability but it occasionally happens when dealing with the living organisms that turn fresh-pressed apple juice into tasty cider. Now that we ferment in larger vessels, when things go wrong it has a big impact.
We try our hardest to avoid contamination and have strict procedures in place including full HACCP reporting and we're registered with our local environmental heath officer (EHO), but despite our efforts, a bad batch may have succumbed to any number of issues, infections and/or other factors.
In the event of a bad batch all that may happen is that in the following year we're not in a position to be as generous as we have been this year. Bascially, until the spring of 2017 we won't really know if we've made a terrible batch, watch this space before bringing us fruit again.
24. Can I have my own custom labels e.g. for my wedding?
Seeing as our founder Dan used to be a graphic designer by day, if you ask him nicely we’re sure he could knock you something up for a small additional fee.
25. Do you have limits on what you can produce?
When we reach our limit on cider production, 7000 litres, we revert to only producing apple juice. Due to the complexities of pastuerisation we are unable to process the same level of fruit as a typical cider pressing day. Therefore we reserve the right to limit the amount you may donate. This will be in discussion with Moss Cider staff on drop off days and we may have to send you home with excess fruit or can offload this to other cider makers/projects outside of Greater Manchester. This may mean that for a portion of your drop off you will get no cider or juice in return.