The young Gloucester rugby player who was awarded the Stowford Press 2019-20 Player of the Season last October, following a public vote by supporters, has launched his own cider brand in next door Cheltenham.
Jake Polledri, a born and bred Bristolian, who joined Gloucester Rugby in 2017 from Hartpury RFC, launched Just Pressed Cider last year.
With Julian Dunkerton investing millions in his Dunkerton’s Organic Cider site at Dowdeswell near Cheltenham, is the town set to become the heart of UK cider making?
Jake ‘s cider is sourced from traditional West Country orchards and after two years of sampling a variety of craft cider blends, Just Pressed ‘Blindside’ and ‘Boomfa’ were born.
As well as playing for Gloucester Rugby, Jake represents Italy Rugby internationally. His close tie with rugby is reflected within the names of the cider – ‘Boomfa’ a medium dry cider with a ‘big hit’ of flavour and ‘Blindside’ a medium sweet cider with all the tang and zest for crisp refreshing tipple.
The Rugby Players Association is supporting young entrepreneurs such as Jake. Through it’s Gain Line Programme players are individually supported with their welfare, off-field personal development, education and career planning by a team of independent RPA Development Managers. Personal development initiatives not only benefit players by encouraging them to pursue a balanced lifestyle and prepare for life after rugby, they have also been proven to enhance on-field playing performance.
More than 800 players are in the programme, which is supported by Newbury-based Vodafone, with senior academy players now required to pursue a ‘dual careers’ philosophy which ensures they will be preparing for their long-term future from the moment they enter the game.
With a knee injury currently keeping him off the field, Jake said, in an interview with The Times today, that it’s been a good opportunity to take stock and think about the future.
He said: “The Rugby Players Association advises us to look at business ideas so there is something after rugby and this is rare chance to progress an idea that has been two years in the planning. I don’t want to be one of those players who retires at 35 and have this massive wake-up call because I haven’t thought about anything else.”