As the cider expert on Sunday Brunch, not to mention experience as cider communications manager for Heineken UK, and as a cider maker too, Gabe Cook is certainly qualified for the title of ‘cider ambassador’. That’s the new role he’s taken on for cider-and-pizza group, The Stable.
Cook has already been working with The Stable on its cider offering for a year, but now has some big plans for the group in his new capacity. Education is a priority, focusing on The Stable’s own Cider Master programme. The group already has 23 Cider Masters, 20 of which sat an exam set by Cook earlier this month.
‘I like working with groups, such as The Stable, that seek to educate the consumer about the full range and breadth of different styles of cider, and provide the punters with greater knowledge so they can make more informed cider choices,’ Cook told Imbibe. ‘I also enjoy the fact that this is a restaurant setting – it’s as much about the food as the cider.’
David Gough, operations director for The Stable, which has 17 locations throughout the UK, commented: ‘Our Cider Masters are a credit to the business. At a time where consumers are interested in the drinks they’re ordering, it’s never been more important to make sure our teams have great product knowledge.’
The Stable will also benefit from Cook’s upcoming three-month trip to the USA and New Zealand, where he’ll be reporting back on the latest trends from those markets, as well as from his recent trips to Central Europe. ‘In addition to this, The Stable will be calling upon my extensive knowledge of the UK cider category, and my intimate knowledge of the nation’s best cider makers, to assist in their product selection,’ he added.
For those interested in upping their own cider knowledge, Cook and the Beer & Cider Academy offer a range of cider courses, all the way up to the level of ‘pommelier’.