Jaime filmed these bush fire experiences in the immediate aftermath of the December fires in Bilpin. The smoke haze is still evident in the background of Hillbilly Cider maker Shane McLaughlin as he recounts his experience. A common theme across these accounts is not only gratitude for the RFS crews – that worked so tirelessly to fight this monster of a fire – but also recognition that communities need to band together to prepare and protect properties as happened so successfully in Bilpin. Thank you to Wollemi Cabins for organising and Jaime Andrei for making the videos.
May 2017 – Qantas Insider magazine recommended a visit to the Hillbilly Cider shed as number 1 on their list of the top 19 things to do in the Blue Mountains for foodie lovers. The list also included world class restaurants, boutique historical hotels, artisan farmers markets, chocolate makers and walking tracks in the world heritage Blue Mountains national park. Visitors can sit out on the deck at the cider shed, overlooking the orchard and sample the internationally award-winning Hillbilly cider range as they decide what to do next on the list!
Feb 2018 – Julie Miller from the Sydney Morning Herald stopped by the Hillbilly Cider shed to taste our array of award winning ciders and discover that life in Australia’s “big apple is sweet”.
Nov 2017- Looking for that perfect escape from the city, but only have a few days to spare? Leave the crowds behind and head to the Blue Mountains and beyond. Roshan Sukhla, writing for Where Traveller magazine, maps out a route that includes gourmet dining in quaint villages, beautiful gardens to visit and of course a visit to the Hillbilly Cider Shed.
Hillbilly Cider scored a “Best in Class” twice at the 2016 Australian cider awards.
Results were announced on Friday the 7th October at the annual awards dinner held in Melbourne.
It was the second time the Hillbilly Pear cider won “Best in class” after winning the same accolade in 2014.
Both the new release ciders from Hillbilly did well too – with the Sweet Julie cider also being awarded “Best in class” and the Hillbilly Scrumpy scoring a bronze medal.
“Coming into summer this will be a great afternoon drink. Put it on the shopping list”
Hugh McKellar of Real cider Reviews described the Sweet Julie as having “bucket loads of fruit without being sickly sweet” and rated it very “easy to drink” which he said is “good as you’re probably going to want a couple”.
Made from the Julie apple – the first apple to be created in the Blue Mountains / Sydney basin since the Granny Smith apple over 100 years ago. Hillbilly is the only cider in the world that uses the Julie.
“Creating something unique to a region which locals can be proud of”
Blue Mountains life visited Shane and Tessa Mclaughlin at Hillbilly Cider HQ in Bilpin.
Hillbilly, was the highest scoring Australian cider at the 2015 International Cider Challenge held in England.
Results were announced on Friday 12th June. The Hillbilly pear was awarded a silver while Hillbilly apple secured a bronze.
This year’s competition attracted a record number of entries from traditional cider nations such as the UK, Ireland and France but also from further afield Australia, Canada, Croatia, Japan, Poland, Spain, South Africa, New Zealand and the USA.
The elite panel of judges chaired by cider expert Pete Brown also featured supermarket buyers, independent retailers, cider aficionados, journalists and publicans.
The Hillbilly brand, a boutique cider rapidly growing in popularity, is the creation of Bilpin residents, cider makers and husband and wife duo Shane and Tessa McLaughlin.
Shane was pleased with the international win, saying it was great news and further ratification following their recent medals in the Australian Cider Awards in October last year, where the pear was awarded “Best in Class” and the apple, a silver medal.
“We are excited that Hillbilly has shown up so well among the best ciders in the world,” he said.
Judge, Pete Brown praised the consistent quality of the entries in the competition.
“I think we were quite tough as a judging panel,” he said. “But every product we awarded a gold or silver medal is a great example of what cider or perry can be, worth holding up and showing to anyone who thinks that cider can only be murky, pungent scrumpy or an exceedingly sweet fruit cocktail.”
Shane’s commitment to making cider in the most natural way – just fruit with no artificial flavours or added concentrate – has gained Hillbilly a loyal fan base not only across its home turf of the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains – but further afield to Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland.
“The way we make cider – it’s all about the apples – and the quality of the local fruit in Bilpin makes us look good,” he said.