Subscribe Search

Search form

7 Questions with Brian Brunt

The Amazing Ciderman: Brian Brunt has spent most of his life brewing and perfecting the drink.
The Amazing Ciderman: Brian Brunt has spent most of his life brewing and perfecting the drink. Scott Howes

7 Questions with Brian Brunt

Brian Brunt, 63, has been making cider for most of his life. Five weeks ago, he launched Bruntys Premium Cider at Kingdom Brewery, where he brews strawberry, apple and pear cider. Currently serving the Cambodian and Thai markets, the dream is to become Asia’s premier cider brand. He talked to Bennett Murray about his bold business venture and his love of cider making.

How long have you been in the cider business?
It started as a hobby of mine in a garage when I was a teenager about 45 years ago. I made wine, beer and cider. Cider interested me the most, because I lived in Somerset, the cider capital of the world. A lot of my friends had farms, and they made ciders on the farms. I started commercially about 30 years ago.
I have several brands back in Somerset, including Broadoak, Moonshine, Rustic Gold, Red Oak, Pheasant Plucker, and a few I can’t remember at the moment. My wife is back there running things. Cambodia is my first foreign venture.

Why did you choose Cambodia to set up shop?
I’d never actually been here before. A friend of mine has connections here, and we got together and had this idea and it seemed like the right thing to do, because there’s nobody here doing it. Cider has been the fastest growing alcohol sector in the world for the past six or seven years.

Has it caught on in the local markets?
So far, it’s been fantastic. Everybody seems to love it. We’ve done two years research down here, and we discovered [Asians] have a sweeter palate, and I thought that strawberries were bound to work. I sat down with my son and some strawberries and apples, and came up with his. I don’t like it, it’s not for my palate, but the young girls like it especially.

We’re only launching the three flavours this year, but I’m looking at using some local Cambodian fruits in the future. I’ve been talking to people with mango groves. Years ago I made a mango cider and it was delicious, so I think I might bring some mangoes out. And some citrus fruits, with the lemons and oranges and the limes, would be lovely.

How did you end up bottling your cider with Kingdom Breweries?
Their sales had gone down a bit, and their bottle sales were not up at all. So this bottling line was available, and a partner of mine knew this place and he was going to buy it. We come down and offered X dollars per case, which is three to four more times than what they’d make on beer bottles. It’s a bit expensive, but it’s good to try this out without making our own facilities and spending millions. The facilities alternate between producing their beer half the time and our cider the other half. In a single shift, we can produce 10 pallets, or 1,440 bottles. We’ve got an 18 month contract, and if it takes off the way it looks like it will, we’ll invest in our own place.

How does brewing beer differ from brewing cider?
It’s a completely different thing from beer. Actually, we don’t call it brewing, we call it cider making. We’re using fruits rather than malts and barley, so it’s a different process, and it takes a lot longer to ferment. But the equipment is largely the same, and we really didn’t need to bring a lot of equipment here. We just brought our own filter, as well as our own rubber pipes to make sure there is no cross contamination with the beer.

Where do you get your apples?
The apples come from Somerset. It’s not very complicated to get them here, because we evaporate them. You take all the water out, ship them, and then rehydrate, so you don’t lose any apples. The strawberries and pears come from the UK as well.

What is so great about being a cider maker?
It’s nice that I’m doing something I love doing that’s not like work, and everyone enjoys it. The more I perfect it, the happier I am. There are still things I learn every day after all these years. I’m 63 and should be retiring, but it’s not work for me, so how could I retire from something I love doing?


  • Thy Sovantha threatens new suit

    Social media celebrity and card-carrying CPP member Thy Sovantha yesterday said she will file a lawsuit against wildlife NGO head Suwanna Gauntlett alleging discrimination after the latter allegedly denied her access to an ecotourism program the group is launching today in Koh Kong province. The

  • Police raid Siem Reap party, arrest 10 foreigners over ‘pornographic’ images

    A group of 10 foreign tourists appeared in court today after being arrested for producing “pornographic” photos in Siem Reap town on Thursday, while dozens more were detained temporarily and let go after being lectured on their behaviour, according to authorities. A report posted to the

  • Hun Sen’s in-law removed from RCAF after cockfighting rings raided

    Thai Phany, the nephew-in-law of Prime Minister Hun Sen who is accused of running two large cockfighting rings, has been removed as a general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Phany, formerly a one-star brigadier general, was removed by royal decree on December 19, according to

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially