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Cider Country: How an Ancient Craft Became a Way of Life

UK Publisher: William Collins

Join James Crowden as he embarks on a journey to distil the ancient origins of cider, uncovering a rich culture and philosophy that has united farmer, maker and drinker for millennia.

Cidermaking has been at the heart of country life for hundreds of years. But the fascinating story of how this drink came into existence and why it became so deeply rooted in the nation’s psyche has never been told. In order to answer these questions, James Crowden traces an elusive history stretching back to the ancient, myth-infused civilisations of the Mediterranean and the wild apple forests of Kazakhstan.

Meeting cider experts, farmers and historians, he unearths the surprising story of an apple that travelled from east to west and proved irresistible to everyone who tasted it. Upon its arrival in Britain, monks, pirates and politicians formed a pioneering and evangelical fan base, all seeking the company of a drink that might guide them through uncertain times.


‘Imagine that Falstaff’s got a handful of PhDs, and that he’s holding court late at night in a West Country cider house, rombustiously, outrageously, learnedly, rapturously, fascinatingly. That’s Crowden here. Don’t miss it’.
Charles Foster, author of Being a Beast and The Screaming Sky

‘James Crowden is Britain’s best cider writer, Cider Country is the book we’ve all been waiting for’ OZ CLARKE

“Cider Country is a vivid ramble through orchards and history, combining
deep local knowledge with commercial acumen and plenty of wit; all packaged
in a handsome layout with photographs of everything from jugs and bottles to
portraits of botanists, horticulturists and makers. Enormous fun, and
effortlessly readable.” Caroline Eden, author of Black Sea and Red Sands

“The history of European explorers and adventurers in Central Asia is a particularly fascinating topic. Your book is a remarkable account of a region that few outsiders have ever seen.” Schuyler Jones CBE, Professor Emeritus, Oxford University

For twenty years James worked in Dorset, Somerset and East Devon as a shepherd, sheep shearer and cider maker. He...