Food & Drink Wednesday, September 14th Words by: Lauren Rogers, pictures by: Lauren Rogers

Crafty blackcurrants: Herefordshire's British Cassis rebrands

Food & Drink Wednesday, September 14th

Crafty blackcurrants: Herefordshire's British Cassis rebrands

While Jo Hilditch cringes a little when you mention that Dragon's Den appearance, being in the TV spotlight was a watershed moment for her company, British Cassis.

"It forced me to look at where we were going," said Jo, who's been making the insanely good blackcurrant liquer on her family farm in Lyonshall for 11 years.

With renewed enthusiam for what the artisan drink could be, it's been completely rebranded. Under a new parent company called White Heron, there's new packaging, new bottles, and a new direction.

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You'll still be able to pick up bottles in delis and village shops, but Jo wants to get this 'grown up' cassis into bars, restaurants and hotels too.

They've stopped making the 'Cassis' branded strawberry and cherry liqueurs, and instead turned their full attention to the more popular cassis, framboise and poire. 

There's a new executive director in Peter Andrew and, as we discovered on a recent visit to the 600-acre Whittern Farms, a new purpose-built production facility fast taking shape.

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There are blackcurrants growing over 50 hectares of the farm. Varieties - probably unheard of unless you're working with them - include Ben Alder, Ben Starav, Ben Hope, Ben Gairn, and Ben Do Rain.

And while 300 tonnes are sold to Ribena, 25 tonnes of these little jewels are churned with water, champagne yeast and a secret recipe to become the cassis.

The new look White Heron British Cassis is available now in 500ml and 200ml bottles.

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The Herefordshire-made drinks range last rebranded in 2014. A year later, managing director Jo Hilditch appeared on BBC show Dragon's Den where she turned down offers of £50,000.

You can pre-order new look bottles online at www.britishcassis.co.uk.

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