HUGGED by sprawling countryside and secluded by a mile-long dirt track, you would be forgiven for thinking Hallets Cider’s Blaengawney Farm, near Hafidyrynys, is a small and purely local business, writes Michael Jones.

Yet the award-winning cidermaker send their “traditional, proper and real” crafts as far as Russia, Canada and Hong Kong, said co-owner Andrew Wilson, 36.

Though their family-business spans the globe, Andrew is careful to point out that there are no plans to expand.

Doing so would mean sacrificing what makes Hallets Cider so special.

Andrew and Andy Hallet, 54, – also co-owner – devote painstaking hours to the cider-making process.

“Most of the art is in the blending,” Andrew says, and a complicated array of equipment used for the fermentation and carbonation process means it’s hard to disagree.

“If we did serve a country like America, it would be too much,” he said.

Producing masses of cider would render Andrew and Andy unable to maintain their current levels of inspection – every batch is tasted, tested and subtly tinkered with until it meets their high standard.

Fermentation tanks jostling for position in the barn suggest there is simply no more room for equipment.

That doesn’t stop companies from thinking Hallets Cider is a mammoth company.

“We had Vogue magazine ringing up and asking if we would like to advertise for a cost of £5,000,” recalls co-owner Annie Hallet, 65 – mother of Andrew.

The refreshing flavour mastered by Hallets is sourced from wine-making techniques.

Such techniques are closely guarded family secret, but Andrew also wants the culture of cider-drinking to mirror the experience of wine-tasting.

“Cider has a pretty bad reputation and we’re trying to fight against that.

“We want people to think of it as more of a drink to savour.

“Our cider is light, clean and crisp.”

Annie echoes this, describing how they’re combatting the idea of cider as a drink for naïve and over-indulgent teenagers.

When Annie and her husband bought the farm in 2001, they originally started growing shiitake mushrooms, but it wasn’t until husband Andy and a friend experimented with cider-making that their futures were cast.

What started out as small-scale operation soon expanded, and with it, a catalogue of awards.

Hallets Cider is finalists in high-street restaurant The Stable’s ‘Cider of the Year’, which is voted for by the public, for consecutive years.

They also won BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Award Best Drinks Producer in 2016 and Best British Cider in the 2015 Produce Awards, while finishing as Highly Commended in the 2017 Great British Food Awards.

Hallets Cider is stocked in some co-op stores and M&S outlets, and their craft draughts supply bars across the UK.

The family are also looking to diversify their business because “they can’t physically grow” anymore, Andrew said.

A quaint farmhouse is listed on rental company Airbnb and there is also a bunk house that cyclists often use over-night.

Plans are being prepared for a one-day festival with live music and cider-tasting taking place on the farm’s grounds over the summer.

Decking that over-looks an apple orchard and faces towards the sun-set is another feature they hope to add.

There is already a small shop and a snug and friendly bar.

“We want to make the farm like a destination,” Andrew said.

“We want to sell the experience.”