Drinks company Blue Fruits is planning the on-trade launch of a cider to extend its Planetbee brand which raises funds to help save the honey bee.
It is partnering beer, wine and cider specialist Morgenrot on introducing Planetbee Cider, which is made from organic English cider apples that are freshly pressed, fermented with wild yeasts and aged in barrels.
It has been created by Herefordshire-based cider-maker Tom Oliver and comes in 33cl bottles. The cider provides a crisp, bitter-sweet apple, honey and blossom complexity, with ABV of 6%.
The brand was launched this summer in the off-trade exclusively in Oddbins where it has been supported by an in-store tasting and awareness drive.
Earlier this year, Blue Fruits and Morgenrot introduced Planetbee’s South African Chenin Blanc through Mitchells and Butlers. Along with the new cider, it sees a percentage of sales donated to the Friends of the Honey Bee national fundraising campaign, set up by the British Beekeepers Association.
John Critchley, commercial director at Morgenrot, said: “With apples relying on bees, a cider is a great vehicle to continue our mission to reverse the terrible and worrying plight of the industrious and life-giving honey bee.
“The support for the project has been fantastic but massive credit has to go to Tom Oliver at Oliver’s Cider & Perry and James Forbes at Blue Fruits for making such a quaffable tipple.”
Blue Fruits co-founder James Forbes added: “Planetbee is unique. I can’t think of any other wine brand that has successfully extended into a completely new product category. I hope there will be more.”
Money raised will help by funding research to combat the deadly Varroa Mite which infests hives and destroys honey bee colonies. It will also be invested in nationwide projects aimed at increasing the number of pollen and nectar-rich pollinating flowers, plants and trees that bees need to thrive and prosper.
Tom Oliver said: “Without pollinating insects like the bee, there would be no fruit and without yeasts – for Oliver’s only wild will do – there would be no cider. Planetbee Cider is a celebration of how nature can do it all, with just a guiding hand.”
Jane Moseley, general manager of the British Beekeepers Association, said: “We are buzzing with excitement in Friends of the Honeybee about the launch of Planetbee Cider. The funds raised through this, as well as through Planetbee wine, are helping us enormously in our fight to secure UK and global bee populations. It’s a brilliant initiative.”