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Rediscovering the craft of local cider & perry
Economics

Rediscovering the craft of local cider & perry

3 min. 23.05.2016 From our online archive
It was a first even for Wort.lu/en: an interview in an orchard. Ramborn CEO Carlo Hein talks about celebrating Luxembourg's apple varieties and how the company is now also taking an interest in perry.

(NG) It was a first even for Wort.lu/en: an interview in an orchard. Ramborn CEO Carlo Hein talks about celebrating Luxembourg's apple varieties and how the company is now also taking an interest in perry.

Tell us about your product or service.

The basic idea is around apples. As three friends [himself,Gérard, and Gilles], we tasted English cider—not just the good ones, but also the bad ones. We noticed that the apple trees in Luxembourg were no longer being used, and we decided to try to make cider with them, which is when we made our first 2,000 bottles.

We had help from a guy called Peter Mitchell of the Cider & Perry Academy in the UK. We went there for courses, and he helped us out with the first batches. After the second year, we tried with more apples and pressed and fermented the juice here but were still bottling in the UK.

But this year everything is produced in Luxembourg: we press our juice here, and fermentation, maturation and bottling is done by Domaines Vinsmoselle. And from next year on, we will also have the Ramborn farm ready in Born, where we will make the special ciders from single variety apples. And as we have around 150 varieties here in Luxembourg, that's a lot to test!

What does the Made in Luxembourg label mean to you?

It's always a challenge to remind ourselves of what we already have in Luxembourg. We try to use everything that is here, for example, even when it comes to packaging. When you are looking at apples, we have lost so much knowledge about the old apple varieties. The Made in Luxembourg label actually makes us rediscover what was always made in Luxembourg.

The Made in Luxembourg actually makes us to rediscover what was always made in Luxembourg.

This year we will also launch a perry [pear cider]. Pear trees reach around 130 years old, and we have over 300 varieties of pears in Luxembourg. Some pears you can eat, others are too bitter, so this was a challenge.

Pears ripen from the inside to the outside, so you never know when the best moment is. And since the trees are massive, you have to wait until the pears fall--and you have to be there very quickly when they do! Pressing them is also more difficult since they are very soft.

What has been your main advantage and challenge of running a business in Luxembourg?Some say it is a challenge to find people to do the job, but for our company this wasn't a challenge. They were there right away, which was extremely special for me.

There is a project behind the idea of our company, and people see that and are attracted to that and engaged in it. It's fun for them.

The challenge here is for the long-term: we have to think today about what will happen in 20 years. And you have to build a company on what is there today. There are a lot of apple trees that weren't being taken care of, and we aim to take care of those.

A lot of knowledge has been lost too. Luckily, Gerard has a lot of that knowledge, but even he agrees we have a lot to rediscover.

What's your favourite Made in Luxembourg product or service? I'm in the brewing industry, and there are some products I like in our commune. The Rosport and Mompach communes are now combined, and in Rosport, of course, you have the water. There's also Tudors Geeschter which makes schnapps and apple wine.

What product or service do you think is still missing from Luxembourg? Some awareness of what we have. It's important not only to say how Luxembourg should be, but also to do it yourself—taking things into your own hands. I think a lot of people are doing it, but the movement is still on the way.

I think the combination of Luxembourgers and people who aren't from Luxembourg working together is great, and Lët'z Go Local is the best example of that.

On the Moselle, with farmers, this was never lost, but the numbers are shrinking, and we need to think more about that now.

Click here to view more articles from the Made in Luxembourg series