From their home in the Swan Valley, the Michael brothers were inspired by their love for local produce to produce some of WA’s best cider. More and more venues around town are pouring FUNK Cider, and the boys will be popping up at this weekend’s WA Cider & Pork Festival at Elizabeth Quay. We caught up with the Michaels to find out more about their apple-y goodness.
Martin and Dustin Michael, photo by Rolling Stills.
Who is behind FUNK Cider?
Dustin and Martin Michael, two young country boys hailing from a farm near Bolgart, and the same duo behind Michael Brothers Traditionally Pressed Juice.
How did you come to start the business?
Both of us grew up on a broadacre beef and grain farm north of Toodyay and that’s where we started our love for fresh, local and homegrown food.
Both of us went to university and earnt Commerce Degrees after school. After travelling overseas for 8 and a half months, Dustin began working as an accountant and soon got the itch to get out of the office and into his own business. As soon as the opportunity arose (mum and dad went overseas for 6 weeks) he quit his job and started The World’s Healthiest Juice Company, which later became Michael Brothers Traditionally Pressed Juice, with his brother Martin, who was still at uni at the time. To this date, Martin has still never had a 9-5 job.
What inspired you to launch FUNK Cider?
We just really wanted to make a healthy alcoholic drink. Not only was cider an easy progression from cold pressed juice, but preservative-free and unpasteurised cider has been touted by many as a health tonic for centuries. Remember it’s only one step away from the super-tonic: Apple Cider Vinegar!
But it wasn’t without its challenges as there is certainly an art to not using sulphites or pasteurisation techniques in the cider making process, which all of the rest of the cider companies (including craft cideries) still do use.
Tell us about your product:
Well it’s unpasteurised (raw) and does not contain any sulphites or preservatives. This makes it still a living product. Nearly all of our ciders are also unfiltered, leaving behind even more flavour and goodness! We currently have a rotation of 12 different ciders on tap at our cellar door in the Swan Valley, ranging from real fruit infused ciders (passionfruit, mango, coconut), to wild ferments (The James Brown – which also contains 5 varieties of apples), to barrel aged ciders (The Sex Machine – a barrel aged pink lady cider, aged in french oak vanilla). Our latest is a Wild Ferment Sundowner which has been aged for 12 months! It’s 6.8% and unbelievably smooth.
We can’t wait to try your cider at the WA Cider & Pork Festival this weekend. Where else can we find FUNK Cider?
We are popping up all over Perth, mostly in small bars, but at a growing number of cool venues every week. We’ll finish our website soon and post all of this up! We don’t bottle our ciders yet, but it’s coming.
And of course you can try our ciders at our venue in the Swan Valley at 55 Benara Rd, Caversham. We have a chef coming on board this weekend, serving breakfast and lunch from 7am. His food is awesome!
How do you enjoy pork and cider together?
Our chef, Paelo, knows more about this than me but I love to marinate free range pork chops in our classic New World Granny Apple Cider. Leave in the fridge overnight in a generous covering of our cider. It hands down makes pork chops that much more succulent! (And it’s way better for you – google it!) Enjoy.
You can sample the Michael brothers’ cider at the Cider & Pork Festival this weekend, and check out the FUNK Cider Facebook page to keep up to date with the business.
The Cider & Pork Festival will take place at Elizabeth Quay from Friday 3 to Sunday 5 March. Guests can sample over 70 ciders from 18 local, interstate and international cideries and there will be crowd favourite pork dishes from 18 of Perth’s best pork loving restaurants and food trucks available for purchase. Tickets are on sale now from www.ciderandporkfestival.