The Barker’s Story

We share a series of snippets from Barker Family 1969-1999 and beyond; stories and anecdotes collated over the years.

It is a story of how a dream can come true and how unassuming hard work and a belief in other people can be rewarded by the collective harnessing of a village of industry. Barker’s is no longer the same cottage industry; it has grown into a much larger enterprise, but the core values and culture are still nurtured and flourish today.  

The notable innovations of the early years have set the stage for a culture of experimentation, quality and a desire to find new ways to satisfy customers.

An interesting history of fruit wine

Random reflections from Anthony Barker’s talk to amateur winemakers at Lincoln College in 1973:
Anthony Barker homebrewing

Anthony Barker homebrewing
– mid 1960s

“I’m intrigued by at least one anthropologist’s suggestion that mankind only became a domesticated animal when he found he had to settle and live in one place if he was to keep his neighbours out of his fermenting mash tub.”

“Perhaps the discovery of wine by man happened in pre-historic Persia, or perhaps Mt Ararat, where the Old Testament tells us Noah landed from his massive epic of navigation after the Great Flood. By divine command he was inspired to plant a vineyard and, we must suppose, become a wine maker. It certainly did him no harm as he reputedly lived for 950 years…albeit Biblical years!

“The Egyptians developed a sustaining drink for travellers – a form of instant beer-come-fruit-wine made of dried malts, fruit, grapes and herbs dried to a solid brick which the hungry and thirsty traveller would stand in a covered bucket of water or in hot stands to drink over the next week, with the brew improving all the time. They called it Boozah and the world, if not the drink was imported to England by the returning Crusaders and appears to have become the colloquial word ‘booze’. So there now, booze has a hallowed antiquity!

“The elderberry and the bilberry are the only red fruits of the cool temperate climatic zones that can claim any relationship with red grape wines in colour style or quality; while similar they are definitely different.

“Imagine my feelings when I looked up at the virtues of older wine in “The Way to Health – 1706”. To quote: ‘It’s an excellent febrifuge, cleanses the blood of acidity, venom and putrefaction, good in measles, small pox, swine pox and pestilential diseases; it contributes to rest and takes away the heat that afflicts the brain, easing pains in the head.

“Before we dismiss the ancients out of hand we must remember that most people living over two centuries go had a badly balanced diet and often suffered partial starvation and thirst in winter, hence herbal wines with lots of minerals may have indeed been a help to them.

“I can only suggest you drink your fruit wine and believe implicitly!”