Cover: Brewing Labels

By Jo Phillips

We discovered Nick Moyle and his delicious looking drink labels via the ‘5-9 – A Collection of Creativity from Outside of the 9-5,’ brought out by the West of England Design Forum.

Nick Moyle and Rich Hood have brewing cider for seven years, and then went on to set up their website Two Thirsty Gardeners. Nick also designs drink labels and ever since these went up on their website, the labels have had a stream of loyal fans. Nick tells us about the brews and label designing, while Rich gets busy ‘testing’ the brews.

Web-MainNick-Rich-2

In the summer of 2012
We started the website in summer 2012. We had been intending to put together a website for our cider, which we’ve been making for about seven years, but never got round to it. When Rich acquired the allotment, we decided it would be fun to grow more foods to brew with but couldn’t find suitable online resources for the twin pursuits of growing and brewing, so the cider site got jettisoned in favour of Two Thirsty Gardeners.

wine_labels-A3up_700px Image Courtesy of Two Thirsty Gardeners

How we met
We’ve always shared an appreciation of traditional cider since meeting at University in Coventry. I lived in rural Gloucestershire and would regularly haul large tubs of cider back to Coventry to share with my university friends. Coincidentally, Rich and I, both ended up living in Bath, and along with a few other friends, decided we should try and make our own. We invested in a small hand press and a few large fermenting buckets and put the call out that we were looking for apples. People would gladly let us take what we wanted in exchange for clearing them away from their lawns. We pressed the apples in Rich’s garden and let the juice ferment in his shed over winter. The first batch tasted pretty impressive so we continued, gradually increasing the volume each year.

The muddy journey in the garden and battling slugs…
We’ve always grown vegetables in small quantities in our gardens but the allotment was quite a challenge. Besides unrelenting battles with slugs, pigeons and weeds, we’ve also suffered from attacks by badgers and deer. Since we started on the plot, I’ve moved out of Bath, making it harder for me to attend regularly, so we’re planning on using the allotment for larger, permanent fruit trees and bushes to minimise the gardening effort.

Besides cider
We make loads of different country wines from fruits and vegetables, brew our own beers flavoured with ingredients, including raspberries and pumpkins, and stick just about anything in spirits to make liqueurs, fortified wines and other infusions. We’re also discovering all sorts of weird and wonderful historical beverages (such as ‘plum jerkum’).

wine_labels_6up_700pxImage Courtesy of Two Thirsty Gardeners

Designing drink labels…
The first label I designed was for rhubarb wine. I needed some for my own bottles and immediately thought that if they would be useful to me then they’re probably useful to other people who have made rhubarb wine using our recipe. It was immediately popular. So, I started to roll out labels for other drinks we’ve put on the site and I’ve also taken on requests for labels from some of our twitter followers.

Something that gets us most drunk
Hmmm…We think that because our homemade drinks are purer and more natural than most commercial equivalents, the resulting hangovers are less severe, but we’ve not scientifically tested this theory yet. Rich loves his cider and often seems a bit groggy after ‘testing’ it to see if it’s ready. I’m currently working on a recipe for absinthe using infused home-grown ingredients – it hasn’t got me drunk but I did have a little taste one morning to see how it was coming along. It was foul. I’m now retuning the recipe.

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