The Apple Thief comes home to Batlow
Big things are brewing in Batlow. Following the devastating impact of the 2020 bushfires, the community has been gradually refinding its feet, kindling new hope and purpose for the Snowy Valleys township.
Dave Purcell, the creator of The Apple Thief Ciders, is one local who’s determined that the local apple and orchard industry will not just rise from the ashes but come back bigger and better than ever to put Batlow back on the map as a tourist and ‘foodie’ destination.
"I believe that bringing the Apple Thief back to Batlow will help inspire others to invest in the Snowy Valleys region and bring back the visitors and our community needs. It will help drive demand for accommodation, dining and local produce. And that’s good for a lot of people," said Dave.
After ten years living in the Southern Highlands and 'commuting' to Batlow to craft the next batch of Apple Thief cider, Dave Purcell and his partner Mel Dickson have recently returned to Batlow with their young family. " I grew up in the family orchards, in this town and these mountains,” says Dave, “So it was an easy decision to come home to this community. I believe in my apples… and I believe in Batlow.”
Dave and Mel have taken over the former Wilgro Orchards on Batlow Road, where the next chapter in The Apple Thief story is taking shape. A sparkling new cidery means that the in-demand line up of varietal ciders produced by The Apple Thief can be crushed, brewed, bottled and distributed in-house.
"We're still a boutique producer but this means we'll be creating and supporting local jobs for local people. It's what's needed here as we regrow." The Apple Thief Cidery and Cider House project has been funded under the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, co-funded by the Australian and NSW Governments.
While big plans are underway for a new Apple Thief Cider House restaurant, bar and immersive orchard experience, Dave and Mel have now opened a temporary Cider House in the old Wilgro farm shop.
“Our little shop celebrates all things cider but we'll also be doing lots with Batlow's famous fruit and other local and regional produce", says Mel. Offering light meals, great coffee and cakes, the rustic store offers tasting and sales of The Apple Thief ciders, along with a growing selection of locally produced, jams, honey, fruit, herbal teas and gifts.
From 1 October 2022, The Apple Thief Cider House will open from Thursday through to Sunday, from 8am to 4pm.
Find out about what’s happening at the Cider House at theapplethief.com.au, and in Instagram and Facebook. Online sales and national delivery are now available through the website for the complete range of bottled and canned varietal ciders, including Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Braeburn Gala and William Pear. Non-alcoholic Pink Lady Cider is also available online or from the Cider House farm store.