The Big Apple Cider and Perry Trials have taken place in early May each year since 1992 – until last year! Determined not to miss another event, the Committee decided there must be a way to make them happen. In a normal year, Putley Parish Hall would be full of cidermakers jostling with each other to judge their anonymous entries but in 2021 this wasn’t going to be possible. So the Trials were delayed to July and volunteers recruited to run them under ‘hospitality’ rules, outside and with a reduced number of entries. The event took place on Saturday 17th July in bright sunshine in the lovely surroundings of Dragon Orchard, Putley, by kind invitation of Norman and Annie Stanier.
The results of the original peer-judge competition were announced the following morning, to a gathering of entrants, volunteers and the Big Apple Committee and live-streamed online to those unable to be there. Chairman Steve Swaithes thanked David Hewitt – the man behind the camera – for all his work in devising the online system to manage entries and scores. Ragged Stone Cider was crowned Champion Cidermaker, while Dave and Fiona Matthews of Bartestree Cider Company were presented with the trophy for Champion Perrymaker. Lucie Mayerova of Naked Orchards won Best Product in Show for her Draught Sweet Perry – it is just three years since Lucie first entered as a novice perrymaker!
Full results are available at:
The Big Apple is now looking forward to October, when it is hoped to run Harvestime events in and around Much Marcle over the weekend of 9th and 10th October.
Pictured at Darts Farm (left to right): Mark Hopper, Simon Jupp MP, Michael Dart and Barny Butterfield
East Devon MP Simon Jupp met with Sandford Orchards owner Barny Butterfield, Michael Dart from Darts Farm and Mark Hopper from the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) at a public event held by Darts Farm on Friday 21st May 2021.
After being given a tour of Darts Farm’s new restaurant and cidery, The Farm Table, and learning more about the cider industry, Simon listened to concerns about cider makers’ tanks remaining largely blocked with the 2019 and 2020 harvests, which may need to be destroyed to make way for this year’s apple harvest. Worse still, was the fear that without support, decades old cider apple orchards may vanish from the countryside. The impacts of the numerous COVID lockdowns, pubs, bars shut and cancelled festivals over the last 12 months, has left some apple growers and cider makers in a perilous position.
“Cider makers are asking for much needed support to allow them to recover from the impact of COVID and for the government to keep their pledge to reduce red tape for business,” said Mark Hopper NACM. “The Treasury review into how cider and other alcoholic beverages are taxed is an opportunity to provide much needed support for our industry, but cider makers are concerned about more complexity and added cost.”
Barny Butterfield said: “This year has tested so many businesses like ours, our loss has also been felt across the industry, with apple growers and pubs feeling the hurt even more keenly than ourselves. We are grateful to have survived the year, the next few years as the industry rebuilds will be critical and we need sympathetic support from our government to survive in the long term.”
“This part of Devon has an unrivalled history in cider making and folklore,” said Michael Dart, Director of Darts Farm. “We’re proud to support independent producers and during the pandemic we launched ‘Save our Cidermakers’, which helped to engage the public with the challenges faced by these producers. But there is so much more that is needed. Recently, we hosted our Franklin’s night feast where we enjoyed an evening celebrating cider’s rich history in our county, as well as the importance of cider to our identity and our future. We call on our government to protect this unique Devonshire industry for all of us.”
Barny Butterfield said: “Cider making depends on locally grown apples, but these orchards take the best part of a decade to reach full crop and can’t just be turned on and off to suit demand. After a very difficult year, we urgently need support to ensure that capacity is opened up and cider apple growers are able to sell their 2021 crop this autumn.
”Speaking after the visit, Simon Jupp said: “It’s great to see a prominent Devon business continue to be optimistic after such a challenging year. Cider duty was once again frozen in this year’s Budget to help support the hospitality sector and the wider supply chain. I will continue to support cider makers in East Devon and NACM to help champion and promote a level playing field for the industry.”
Founded in 2002 to top-up a farm labourer’s wage, Sandford Orchards now occupies the oldest working cider mill in the UK and has been responsible for a revival in traditional and modern orchards employing 30. It is a vocal supporter of the wider cider industry. www.sandfordorchards.co.uk
Over the past 25 years Darts Farm has been continually evolving to become one of the most exciting shopping experiences in the South West. Darts Farm remains a family business run by the Dart brothers; the retail looked after by Michael and James and the farm headed up by Paul. The business is, at its core, still a working farm, and sells all of its home-grown produce directly through the farm shop. www.dartsfarm.co.uk
- Darts Farm was named ‘Best South West Farm Shop’ in the Taste of the West Awards 2018 and was crowned the Winner of the ‘Best Farm Shop’ at the Food Reader Awards in 2020.
- With over 17,000 visitors a week, Darts Farm prides itself on its exceptional customer experience and the warm, friendly atmosphere around the store, enhanced by the Dart brothers’ hands on management, family involvement and their passionate members of staff.
- With Ruby Red Devon cattle grazing in the fields, Paul Dart and his team harvest a wonderful selection of fresh fruit and vegetables daily, which are sold in the food hall and used by the restaurant in their delicious seasonal dishes.
- Darts Farm can be found overlooking the beautiful Clyst Valley in the picturesque town of Topsham, near Clyst St George, on the outskirts of Exeter in Devon (EX3 0QH)
Photo: Richard Drax MP with Cider Maker Joe Hartle (left) and Mark Hopper (right)
South Dorset MP Richard Drax met with Cider Maker Joe Hartle from Purbeck Cider and Mark Hopper from the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) on the 28th May 2021.
After being given a tour of the orchards and learning more about the cider industry, Richard listened to concerns about cider makers’ tanks remaining largely blocked with the 2019 and 2020 harvests, which may need to be destroyed to make way for this year’s apple harvest. Worse still, was the fear that without support, decades old cider apple orchards may vanish from the countryside. The impacts of the numerous COVID lockdowns, pubs, bars shut and cancelled festivals over the last 12 months, has left some apple growers and cider makers in a perilous position.
“Cider makers are asking for much needed support to allow them to recover from the impact of COVID and for the government to keep their pledge to reduce red tape for business.” said Mark Hopper NACM “The Treasury review into how cider and other alcoholic beverages are taxed is an opportunity to provide much needed support for our industry, but cider makers are concerned about more complexity and added cost.”
Joe Hartle said “Cider making depends on locally grown apples, but these orchards take best part of a decade to reach full crop and can’t just be turned on and off to suit demand. The last 12 months have been extremely challenging but there have been some positives such as strengthening the relationships we have with our local community. We look forward to pubs, festivals and whole hospitality sector re-opening this summer.”
Speaking after the visit, Richard Drax “it is good to see a local business continue to be optimistic during what has been a difficult time. Cider duty was once again frozen in this year’s Budget to help support local pubs and the wider supply chain, but the NACM have made a number of arguments for the future and these issues are definitely something I will look at.”
When Healeys Cyder (Cornwall’s largest independent cyder-maker) decided in 2020 that they wanted new packaging for their soon-to-be launched line of Still Rattler fruit cider – Flattler, they turned to Smurfit Kappa Barnstaple to provide a solution.
Healeys Cyder is one of the fastest-growing cyder-makers in the UK and you will already find Rattler Cornish Cloudy Cyder and Cornish Gold available on draught and in bottles at pubs and venues up and down the country. By introducing Bag-in-Box® cider to their packaging options, Healeys Cyder can now offer Rattler Cyder in more settings and in a still format, complimenting their existing carbonated range.
The Bag-in-Box® offers an efficient and ease of use with its ‘pull and pour’ format, ideal for use in pub gardens, BBQ’s and at events. “We wanted our cyders to be as accessible as possible, which includes catering for a variety of pack formats and usage scenarios” Lee Maidment, Marketing Manager of Healeys Cyder.
Smurfit Kappa Barnstaple have been delivering Bag-in-Box® packaging solutions for almost two decades and are committed in being the partner of choice for drinks companies. Andrew Richards, Business Development Manager of Smurfit Kappa Barnstaple, was excited to present the different boxed cider options available which would meet Healeys Cyder’s requirement for their upcoming Flattler cider products.
The goal was to provide a Bag-in-Box® product that was:
- Full colour print to complement their unique branding
- Had no requirement for glue or tape to erect
- Could withstand vigorous supply chain conditions
- Provide protection to the cider the box and bag contained
The solution was Smurfit Kappa Barnstaple’s ‘envelope’ style Bag-in-Box® which is made from 300K/K double wall grade, printed full colour litho and quick to erect saving time on the production line.
“We love our new Bag-in-Box® packaging from Smurfit Kappa Barnstaple. Rattler Cornish Cloudy Cyder is well-known for standing out in the cider industry, particularly when it comes to our use of vibrant colours across the Rattler brand, and I am pleased to say that the boxes for Flattler that Smurfit Kappa have delivered meet our very high standards! The box itself is quick and easy to assemble, and most importantly, the structure of the Bag-in-Box® is strong and robust, which means none of our delicious cyder will go to waste through damages!” continued Lee.
Healeys Cyder, Flattler boxed still cider will be distributed to pubs and venues across the UK, and you can also purchase a range of their ciders, spirits, soft drinks and more via their website https://healeyscyder.co.uk/shop/
If you would like to know more about Bag-in-Box® for cider products visit smurfitkappa.com/cider.
Devon based Sandford Orchards is launching three of its session ciders in a new canned format along with its full range of flavoured ciders, ready for the summer season. Devon Dry, Devon Mist and Rib Tickler will be available in cans from the end of May with Fanny’s Bramble, Old Blossom, Berry Lane and Cider Ginger to follow in June. These new canned ciders will be available from selected retail outlets including Sandford Orchards’ shop, plus hospitality venues and online from www.sandfordorchards.co.uk.
Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker at Sandford Orchards comments: “As part of a recent £1.2m investment in our business we installed a brand new canning line to meet the growing demands for more canned drinks. We recently launched our most popular cider, Devon Red, in a can and the response was overwhelming. With BBQ season upon us and large outdoor gatherings now permitted, we felt that this was the ideal time to launch some of our other key ciders in a new can format. Cans are light, less fragile than bottles and eminently more portable making it the perfect format for al fresco consumption.”
Devon Dry Cider (ABV 5% 8 x 440ml, RRP £13.99) is crisp, dry and filled with mouth watering cider apple tannin leading to a long, clean, citrus finish. It is a tribute to the true West Country dry cider style.
Devon Mist (ABV 4.5%, 8 x 440ml, RRP £13.99) is unfiltered and expertly blended to create a medium, cloudy, session cider, bursting with rich autumnal fruits and a long satisfying finish.
Rib Tickler (ABV 5%, 8 x 440ml, RRP £13.99) was created with The Rugby Players Association to raise vital funds for charity. It has rich aromas of honey and baked apple, ripe and buttery on the palate, with a moreish apple skin flavour, balanced with a crisp, natural acidity.
Fanny’s Bramble (ABV 4%, 12 x 330ml RRP £21) is an exceptional craft cider that is a perfectly balanced and exceedingly delicious blend of fresh apple and blackberries.
Old Blossom (ABV 4%, 12 x 330ml RRP £21) captures the essence of early summer with elderflowers adding a subtle sweetness and delicate aroma to expertly crafted Devon cider.
Berry Lane (ABV 4%, 12 x 330ml RRP £21) is satisfyingly sweet and refreshingly tart, created by adding perfectly ripe raspberries to this masterfully crafted Devon cider.
Cider Ginger (ABV 4%,12 x 330ml RRP £21) is created from fresh pressed root ginger and the finest Devon cider. It is a great food pairing for spicy dishes, and an outstanding cocktail ingredient.
Founded in 2002, independent, family-owned Sandford Orchards is based in Crediton, Mid Devon in the oldest working cider mill in the UK. The area has long been known as one of the most fertile parishes in all of Britain, both for its grazing and ability to grow apples. Crediton sits in the lee of the moors, so receives the right amount of rain and the right units of heat in summer.
Sandford Orchards takes a fresh, natural and low impact approach to producing cider. With their recent rebrand and expanded capacity, they started 2021 in a strong position to meet the needs of their fast-growing fan base as well as cider drinkers who want to trade up to something more authentic and better tasting.
Combining tradition and innovation, Sandford Orchards produces an award-winning range of core session, flavoured, vintage and fine ciders.
For further information on Sandford Orchards please visit www.sandfordorchards.co.uk, follow Sandford Orchards on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.