Aerona – a special liqueur from Dwyfor

Aerona is a liqueur made from Aronia berries and is a result of a serendipitous meeting of a farm diversification project and a great idea.

Rhedynog Isaf farm is near to Chwilog in Gwynedd and it is here that Hazel a Gwilym Jones make Aerona . The Aronia berries came to the farm thanks to the MENTERRA project. This project sought to find out which crops could be grown in Wales for future possible farm diversification. A number of different crops were grown as part of this project on different farms and it was Aronia came to Rhedynog Isaf.

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When the project concluded there were 200 bushes in a field, so what to do with them? They aren’t the best tasting berry but they are strong in vitamin C and antioxidants.

Hazel experimented with making jam and so forth and considered making country wine but then she had her ‘lightbulb moment’ and thought about developing a liqueur.

To make Aerona liqueur the berries are harvested by hand at the end of the summer up to early autumn and then are frozen to keep until it’s time to use them. To make Aerona ,the berries are put into plastic tubs containing neutral spirit and stay there for three months in an old barn. During this time the spirit breaks down the berries and the flavour and colour infuses into the spirit. The liqueur is then bottled by hand on the farm.

Hazel busy bottling

Hazel busy bottling

Aerona has been a success. They now need to expand and another barn will be pressed into action. Also, as well as the original 200 bushes a further thousand have been planted.

Once the liqueur is made the berries aren’t wasted, they are dried and are used to make a delicious chocolate.

Aerona 006

It appears that there is a bright future for Aerona.

Between 9-10 on the evening of Wednesday 26 March I’ll be hosting a tweetasting of Aerona, buy a bottle and join in using #drinkswales

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