An amazing achievement on any level, it should come as no surprise, given that one of the founders is Shane McLaughlin, an organic winemaker at Canonbah Bridge Wines who has been apple cider commercially for 12 months now.
He and his wife Tessa have already garnered a loyal following of drinkers in their local Blue Mountains area for their unique cider and are hoping to build on their awards success as the company grows.
In a market that is arguably flooded with cider brands, Hillbilly has a unique selling point all of its own: a never-before-used cider apple. The Julie was invented by the McLaughlin’s neighbour, apple-growing guru Bill Shields, and reportedly gives the cider a distinctive flavour all of its own.
According to Shane the cider is all about quality ingredients. “The beauty of our cider is we’re using traditional cider-making techniques with classic Aussie varietals,” he says. “We’ve used great apples – including Bilpin apple guru Bill Shields’ apples.”
While the couple has been selling cider at local markets, in the Hawkesbury, the Blue Mountains and Sydney, Tessa says they noticed a distinct demand for locally made produce that is direct from farmers.
“It’s about building that sense of local community,” she says. “Chatting to your neighbours as you buy your fruit and bread – or as you sip a cider.”
Hillbilly Cider is a 100% crushed apple cider made from Bilpin apples with no added sugar or artificial flavours and the first release from the couple under their new label.
You can buy Hillbilly at Castle Hill market (blackcastleevents.com.au), Blackheath market (blackcastleevents.com.au), Leichhardt market (organicfoodmarkets.com.au), and Marrickville market (organicfoodmarkets.com.au).
The cider is also available at restaurants and retail outlets.