The Temperleys of Burrow Hill


Introductory Historical Context


1560 : The last prior of Montacute Priory left his still and glass collection to his nephew having presumably used them for distilling and drinking Somerset cider brandy. It is likely that puritanical attitudes then caused stills across the West Country to be operated behind a veil of secrecy.

1660s : The distillation of cider had a resurgence.

1710 : The industry was well-enough established to warrant its own tax bracket. Then with William of Orange came the plague of cheap gin and the establishment of vast whisky distilleries across the border. Somerset Cider Brandy once again disappeared off the records and behind the hedge.

Burrow Hill Cider & Somerset Cider Brandy



Tithe Map of 1840 – fields at this time are used for apple production. Fields 670 & 675 are orchards owned by the Church – a Rectorial Glebe and the track alongside field 675 is called ‘Vicar’s Lane’.

1970 : Julian Temperley bought Pass Vale Farm from Charlie Duck. Cider had been made on the farm for over 250 years and Charlie Duck was one of the most respected cider makers in the area, making cider from a blend of vintage apples.

1971 : Julian set up Burrow Hill Cider.

1980’s : Burrow Hill Cider won the cider championships in Hereford, Somerset and Devon.


1985 : Julian and Diana Temperley began the process of legally reintroducing Somerset Cider Brandy to the UK. The kind of artisan distilleries accepted as normal in Europe were at the time unheard of in the UK. By 1987 Julian was operating on a museum licence like Bertram Bulmer.


1989 : The Somerset Cider Brandy Company started to make Somerset Cider Brandy commercially. Josephine was joined by Fifi in 1993, a smaller more frisky still. Now between March and May or September and December you can see these 70 year old ladies working their magic at the farm.


Bottles of Somerset Cider Brandy are now found in some of the finest restaurants in the world, evoking all the magic and mystery of the West Country’s proud cider-making and apple-growing traditions.


2003 : The Somerset Cider Brandy Company became part of the Slow Food Movement. This recognizes its commitment to its unique environment.

In 2011 we joined an elite list of European food and drink producers after being awarded Protected Geographical Indication status in Brussels. Much like our French cousin Calvados we now have a legally protected name. We are the only spirit in England to be awarded a PGI. Our PGI recognizes the exceptional terroir of Somerset’s cider apple region and each bottle can be traced back to its orchard of origin.

Matilda Temperley

2018 : Ten year-old Somerset Cider Brandy is the only spirit on the menu at the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle.

2019 : Julian and daughter Matilda are invited to lunch with her Majesty the Queen on her visit to Somerset.

The Temperley Family


“NO EXCISE ON CYDER”
The Cyder Clock of 1760 at Burrow Hill.


Julian & Matilda Temperley