We sat down with Dan Hasler of the Moss Cider Project to discuss their history, the importance of community, and the future of the craft cider industry.
A small hidden unit in Moss Side is home to Manchester’s coolest cider story.
In 2010, Dan Hasler considered the old Stagecoach bus depot opposite his home and decided it would be a perfect place for an orchard. However, before this idea came to fruition, he had already fell in love with the idea of making cider in his home town, and the Moss Cider Project was born. After signing up to a cider making course that got cancelled, Dan decided to purchase a press and give it a go on his own.
The first pressing inevitably took place in Moss Side in the Autumn of 2010. A number of people from the local community pulled together to bring apples to press, and Moss Cider’s yearly ritual began. On the unique community partnership, Dan mused, “there’s a lovely history rurally of the community coming together to help make cider, but there’s something really interesting in taking a rural tradition, and bringing it alive in an urban context”. Moss Cider also continue the tradition of gifting donators, and volunteers, in cider. Their Cider House Rules currently offers donators 25% of their apples back as bottled cider, with the option to purchase the rest at a cheaper rate.
Photo by Hannah Beatrice
Taking the community-involvement even further, the Moss Cider Project also began working with local schools after noticing how children enjoyed attending the apple pressing sessions with their families and tasting real, fresh apple-juice. Working in partnership with schools allows young people to pick the fruit from home, help to press the apples, design labels to promote the juice, and ultimately sell the cartons of fresh juice back to friends and family. This, according to Dan, shows young people that apple juice is not just in a carton from a supermarket, but can be made as local produce. He enjoys these collaborative partnerships, as “community is always happening, so its great to overlap with this wherever possible”.
More recently, The Moss Cider Project have been involved in industry collaborations, working with Chorlton Brewing Co. to create a dry-hopped cider for Manchester Beer Week. Collaborations are happening all the time within the craft beer industry, and Dan feels as though it offer a unique opportunity for cider producers to use local craft been knowledge to improve their products. With Chorlton Brewing Co.’s sour beer knowledge, they managed to create a great tropical, fruity product, which is a perfect bridge for traditional beer drinkers to try real ciders.
Considering the future of the real cider industry, Dan again takes some inspiration from the collaborations within the craft beer breweries. If more real cideries can work within this close craft community, perhaps again by offering out their lees, then more beer drinkers can begin to appreciate real cider. Dan points to the successful partnership between Oliver’s Cider and Perry, Thornbridge Brewery, and Brooklyn Brewery as a template. With the increasing popularity of local produce and community, it’s also important for the cider industry to market the real cider better within the industry, to ensure that people can begin to understand the craft behind the product.
So what does the future hold for the Moss Cider Project? Well it’s fair to say that there are a lot of interesting ideas in the pipeline to grow the project significantly in the coming months, and they have certainly left an impression on us here at The Cider Press.