HUSBAND and wife team Lee and Anita Thorne had an instant hit on their hands when they launched Red Bank Cider at the Manchester Cider and Perry Festival last summer.

Out of 70 other cider brewers, their creation was awarded Cider of the Festival and at the same event this year Red Bank also received the Perry of the Festival gong.

Red Bank currently takes part in many local artisan markets across Lancashire and at bigger events such as Bolton Food and Drink Festival, Southport Flower Show and others run by “Made in Lancashire” of which it is a member.

Their early success enabled them to get premises at Bradley Fold from where Red Bank produces cider and Perry and orders to numerous local off licences and pubs.

“Red Bank Cider is a natural product, gluten free with no added chemicals or colours,” said Mrs Thorne. “It is also available in strawberry, blueberry and admirals rum flavours, all of which have proved very popular.

“We also supply many beer and cider festivals as well as wedding parties, christenings and other similar events.

“We have gained more than 1,000 followers on Twitter and 500 ‘likes’ on Facebook.” The couple have already taken on a part time member of staff and have invested in new equipment.

Meanwhile, Red Bank has ambitions to produce its first English win in the near future.

“Being nominated for an award feels fantastic,” said Mrs Thorne. “It’s a fitting reward for the hard work that has been put in.”