By Tristan Harris Thursday 18 October 2012 Updated: 18/10 00:12
AN AWARD-winning craft cider maker has made a desperate appeal after this year's wretched weather has led to an apple crisis which is threatening the production of his popular drink.
Steve Cooper, from Tardebigge Cider, usually gets six or seven tonnes of apples from his orchards but the cold and rainy conditions this year, coupled with the bee and nectar problems, have curtailed his crop to less than a tonne.
As well as a lack of apples, those that have grown have been a lot smaller than usual.
Now Steve is urging any residents or orchard owners who have got apples to get in touch with him so he can continue to make his award-winning cider.
Steve has been making craft cider since 1999 with his wife Christine and their Tardebigge Medium Cider, which is 6.1 per cent, has just been awarded the Cider of the Year title by the West Midlands branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale).
The beverage was up against 29 other ciders in the contest, which were all put through four blind tastings.
Steve said: "It's a small craft business and we were overjoyed with the award because it was a very stringent test - a quadruple blind tasting that was judged by a good cross section of the community - from members of the public to experts."
But, he added: "The award has been the bright light in what has been an otherwise gloomy year."
And he said, unless he could get some apples, the chance of getting equally quality cider next year was looking increasingly bleak.
"Some of the trees out there which are usually full have not got one single apple on them at all.
"This has been the worst year we have had for cider-making, since 2000 - during the foot and mouth crisis."
Anyone who can help Steve with his quest for apples can call him on 07712 223371.
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