Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business


International Women’s Day: Young Woman from the Welsh Valleys is Leading the Way for Women in Cider Making, Thanks to Support from Local Community Fund


A 29-year-old from the Welsh valleys is leading the way for women in the cider-making industry after launching her own business in 2021 following the receipt of money from The Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm community fund.

Bianca Samuel from the Duffryn Rhondda in the Afan Valley, co-founded Austringer Cider with her father Phillip after both were made redundant during the pandemic. Since then, Bianca has been working hard to champion equality in the industry and has won a series of accolades against some of the UK’s most renowned household cider brands.

Bianca said:

“My father and I have been making cider at home for several years, and it has always been well-received by friends and family, so we were confident that we had a good product. When we were both made redundant during the pandemic we decided to plunge everything into cider making. We knew it was a risk, but we felt it was worth taking. Thankfully it has paid off and following the support from organisations like Pen y Cymoedd, demand for our product is at an all-time high.”

She continued:

“I feel so lucky to share the business with my father, he has been a tower of support for me since day one. The industry can be very male dominated, which can be intimidating at times. However, his encouragement has helped me to build up my confidence and show the sector that women can be as much at the forefront of the business as men. I am glad to be championing women in our sector, but I couldn’t do it without the support from my dad.”

Bianca applied for a micro-grant of £5k from The Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund in 2021 to support the launch and establishment of Austringer Cider.

Following receipt of the grant, Bianca was able to purchase a carbonator to help produce limited-edition varieties of the cider and allowed her to commission a graphic designer to create labels for the bottles. Demand for the home-made cider is now at an all-time high, with production reaching full capacity of 7000 litres per year.

Austringer Cider is just one of a handful of the organisations founded, owned and run by women in the Welsh Valleys that have been supported since The Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund launched in 2017.  In the past five years, the Fund has invested more than half a million pounds in championing new business ventures across the Welsh valleys, including many launched, owned and run by women. This has subsequently helped to create jobs, services, events, and products that have provided the Afan, Rhondda, Cynon and Neath valleys with the vital economic boost they needed.

Kate Breeze, executive director of the Pen y Cymoedd fund said:

“Women like Bianca have thought outside the box and come up with an exciting new concept that is now thriving in the Afab Valley and across Wales.

“Not only is she running her own businesses, with the support of her father, she is helping to champion equality in a very male dominated sector.”

The Pen y Cymoedd Wind Farm Community Fund was established in 2017 by energy company Vattenfall and is designed to provide local individuals, groups, organisations, charities and businesses in Upper Neath, Afan, Rhondda and Cynon Valleys with the opportunity to apply for funding to improve and grow a local service, product, project or activity.

Now in its fifth year, the fund has already catalysed a total of £20.1 million of community investment in the Welsh valleys, supporting more than 450 local projects and businesses in its first five years of operation.

For more information on the fund or to apply please click here