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

By James Crowden, Read by Ric Jerome

‘James Crowden is Britain’s best cider writer … Cider Country is the book we’ve all been waiting for.’ Oz Clarke

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.

But the nation’s love-affair with cider didn’t fully blossom until after the reformation, when the thirst for knowledge about the drink was at its peak. This infatuation with experimentation would lead to remarkable innovations and the creation of a ‘sparkling cider’, a technique that pre-dated Dom Pérignon’s champagne by forty years.

Turning to the present day, Crowden meets the next generation of cider makers and unearths a unique philosophy that has been shared through the ages. In the face of real challenges, these enterprising cider makers are still finding new ways to produce this golden drink that is enjoyed by so many.

Spanning centuries and continents, Cider Country tells the story of our country through the culture, craft and consumption of our most iconic rural drink.

Format: Audio-Book
Release Date: 19 Aug 2021
Pages: None
ISBN: 978-0-00-839361-8
Detailed Edition: Unabridged edition
James Crowden is an author and poet living in Somerset, England. For twenty years James worked as a shepherd, sheep shearer, cider maker and forester. He is the author of several collections of poetry and nonfiction, including Ciderland (2008) which won the André Simon Food and Drink Award.

Praise for CIDER COUNTRY -

‘James Crowden is Britain’s best cider writer. I always turn to his work first when I want top research and inspiring opinions. His new ‘Cider Country’ is the book we have all been waiting for.’ OZ CLARKE -

”'Crowden writes with an intoxicating lyricism about the great love of his life - cider. Packed with cider flavoured nuggets of history, magic and folklore, this book will not just make you want to drink the stuff, it will have you packing your bags and move to the West Country to make it.” - Ned Palmer, author of A Cheese-monger’s History of the British Isles

”'Wonderful … From the ancient orchards of Kazakhstan to the cider presses of Somerset, fizzing with fruity stories and yeasty historical tales!” - Alice Roberts

‘James Crowden takes us on the most immersive journey through this drink and tells us of the story of the origins of the apple through Kazakhstan… It’s such a friendly book, a cosy feel…This drink fell into decline particularly in the seventies and eighties, and in more recent years we’ve had this revival of fine cider…This book tells that story. Dan Saladino, Radio 4 Food Programme ‘Books of the Year’ -

”'Cider Country is a vivid ramble through orchards and history …Enormous fun, and effortlessly readable.” - Caroline Eden, author of Red Sands

”'Fascinating … Crowden knows this world intimately. He has a gift for evoking the rhythms and smells of cider-making.” - SPECTATOR

”'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