The story of Bignose and Beardy is as much about friendship as it is about cider.
It all started in 2014 at the school gate. Both Steve Rabson Stark (Beardy), previously from Brighton and Phil Day (Bignose), originally from London had moved to the countryside in the mid-Noughties to start families in Framfield, a small East Sussex village on the edge of the Weald.
Phil left London to fulfil his lifelong dream of running a smallholding. A whirlwind auction purchase, Upper Brookhouse Farm became a 10 year renovation project.
One night over a pint in Framfield’s local, they discovered common interests in beekeeping and a joint curiosity for making cider. And that’s when the Bignose and Beardy journey began. A small band of dad's turned up at Phil's and spent a happy day chopping, milling and pressing on some borrowed hand powered kit. After a days effort the team had produced 75 litres of delicious apple juice. All they had to do then was wait. The others drifted away but Steve kept coming back to see how it was going. It started off well, but as the sugar fermented into alcohol it started to taste a little... well not great. However patience saved the day and after seven months of waiting the cider was drinkable. Not amazing but alright. No matter: Phil and Steve had become hooked.
After researching the industry and taking advice from Phil’s successful cider making friend in the Midlands, they took the plunge and decided to buy some kit. They distributed flyers at the local village fair advertising for local apples to be donated in exchange for cider. Offers of apples started to pop up all around the village.
In their first year they produced 3,500 litres. Since then production has increased to 7,000 litres per year.
It’s fair to say that Bignose & Beardy cider is an out of control hobby, as both Steve and Phil have full time jobs elsewhere. Phil working for a property company in London and Steve running his own consultancy business.
Phil has now built a cidery at the farm and Bignose and Beardy host many cider related parties, including the annual Wassail.
The cider is as much about the wonderful community that has grown out of it as it is about the production. And having lots of fun along the way of course.