Cider tourism and increased production at målbedrift Apal Sideri

Apal Sideri, Apalbutikken and Apalstova in Hjelmeland had it’s official opening i mid June, and Dan Olav Sæbø who is the general manager has really facilitated the optimal experience for the guests, where both taste, interior and atmosphere play a central role. Photo: Hilde Hauge/Bent O. Hansen

Apal Sideri takes new steps in the development of the cider community in Rogaland

Throughout 2022, Apal Sideri has worked actively with the development of the cidery on the farm Sæbø in Hjelmeland. On the 15th of June, a brand new facility was opened on the farm, which aims to produce up to 40,000 liters of cider a year. Apal Sideri consists of production premises, a separate shop that sells cider and local food, and a separate bar with outdoor seating for tasting and events; Apalstova.

Dan Olav Sæbø is the general manager and cider maker. He took over the farm in 2020, and has since then worked to expand the operating basis of the farm. There has been fruit production on the farm since the 19th century, but it was when Sæbø started cider production that the farm really got attention.

Already in 2020, Apal Sideri excelled, taking home gold for Sølvsider in the Cider World Award 20 with 119 out of 120 possible points in the sparkling cider category. Apal Sideri has also distinguished itself in tests in Norway, and got dice roll 6 for the same cider in VG’s test in May. The cider Svaggen got dice roll 5.

The cider production started with a test batch in 2019 of 1,200 liters. The cider was sold out in 2 months. In 2020, production increased to 8,000 liters. This time it was sold out in 3 months. In the autumn of 2021, production increased to 27,000 liters. The cider is now well established both at Vinmonopolet, at local restaurants and now also through its own tasting rooms on the farm. The goal is to produce up to 40,000 liters annually. In addition, Apal Sideri also produces apple juice for sale and serving.

The cider industry is of great importance to Hjelmeland and it has simply put Hjelmeland on the map. Going forward, Apal Sideri has ambitions to create new jobs in Hjelmeland municipality. Today, Dan Olav Sæbø runs the production and production facility together with his father; Oddbjørn Sæbø. The forecasts indicate that there is a need for 1 extra employee as production increases, in addition to seasonal workers in the summer season for cider tasting and guided tours.

Cider tourism

Apal Sideri is actively investing in cider tourism, and Dan Olav Sæbø really believes that it is an important and correct position to take. The facility is built and designed to receive visitors who want to taste the different ciders in addition to getting a tour of both the orchard and the production premises.

Apalstova is the bar where visitors can either reserve a tasting with a guided tour, or just drop by when it is open. Here guests can enjoy a glass of cider, or a cider plank with good local cheese and cured meats next to it. Apalstova is modernly decorated and overlooks the orchard. In addition, you can enjoy the different ciders with spectacular panoramic views over the entire Hjelmelandsvågen on the new outdoor terrace.

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