Cider makers welcomed more than 250 guests to their Orchard Walk and Technical Day which returned for the first time in three years.  The event provides a unique opportunity for the cider industry to thank those who work so hard growing apples for them and to celebrate the importance of British grown cider apples.

The event was opened by James Crampton, National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) Chair and Corporate Affairs Director at HEINEKEN UK. He thanked Tom Powell and the Foxley Estate at Mansell Lacey, Herefordshire, for hosting the event and welcoming such a large group of growers to his orchards.

James went on to explain that “Growing cider apples is at the heart of the cider industry and Great British ciders are a part of the heritage and traditions of our rural communities. Cider makers and apple growers have worked in partnership for decades, creating a platform that supports farming, employment, biodiversity, tourism and of course cider making.“

However, there was also some caution from the cider industry, due to the unprecedented challenges from Brexit, Covid and more recently escalating costs especially around energy and fuel. In addition, long term decline of the cider market has recently accelerated, and the apple cider market fell by nearly 20% in the last two years as the hospitality sector was impacted by Covid lockdowns.

James further highlighted HM Treasury proposals to reform alcohol duty, planned for introduction in February 2023 and asked cider apple growers to join the NACM and cider industry in continued talks with local MPs about their concerns. Impacts on the cider industry will be significant for cider leaving beer and spirits mainly unchanged. Cider will see a significant increase in excise duty rates, adding red tape and complexity to HMRC paperwork, all ciders over 4.6% ABV will see an increase in excise duty, with some seeing increases as high as 40%. The most traditional ciders will be hit the hardest, especially those around 6% to 7% ABV. Two thirds of cider makers will be negatively impacted.

Following the opening remarks, guests were invited to walk around the orchards, where a number of technical talks gave more detail into how the orchards are managed on the estate, as well as tips for improving biodiversity. The morning ended with an opportunity to visit a number of trade stands highlighting latest developments in orcharding and harvesting equipment and supplies

Sandford Orchards’ Vintage Ciders awarded silver medals

Sandford Orchards’ Vintage Ciders awarded silver medals

Devon’s Sandford Orchards, producer of authentic cider created by combining tradition and innovation, is thrilled to have been awarded silver medals for all three of its vintage ciders at the International Cider Challenge 2022. The General, Sandford Reserve and Apple & Oak  each received a silver medal at the prestigious awards.

Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker at Sandford Orchards comments: “We are absolutely delighted to receive silver medals for each of our vintage ciders at the International Cider Challenge, which is considered to be one of the most authoritative, respected and influential cider competitions in the world. We launched our vintage ciders last year after trialling more than forty different potential variations before whittling them down to these three, each of which boasts their own unique characteristics. We have been thrilled with our selection but it is always nice to know that the experts think they are pretty special too. These vintage ciders have now won an impressive haul of awards between them including a gold and silver at The World Cider Awards and a gold at the International Cider Awards.”

The General – Mighty Vat-Aged Cider (ABV 8.4%)

The General is the Imperial Stout of the vintage range. This super rich cider is bold and satisfying with the flavours of Seville orange, plum and baked apple. It is a superb complement to gamey meats or a fully-laden Sunday roast.

Sandford Reserve – Finest Cask-Aged Cider (ABV 7.4%)

Sandford Reserve is the ‘exhibition’ cider of this new range. Using the pick of the 2019 crop and matured in larger wine casks, Sandford Reserve drinks like a smooth, oaky, chardonnay with flavours of honey, Madeira and dried fruits. It’s the perfect partner to curry or spicy Asian food.

Apple & Oak – Fresh Oak-Finished Cider (ABV 6.7%)

‘Apple and Oak’, is a dry vintage cider aged in new oak barrels. It showcases youthful, ripe, bittersweet apple flavours which are complemented by hints of vanilla and toasty oak. The ideal accompaniment to a cheese ploughmans or cured meats, it’s the ‘cider nouveau’ of the collection.

The International Cider Challenge is founded on a rigorous and independent judging process, which serves to reward and celebrate the diversity and range of varying styles of international cider. Ciders entered into the tasting categories are blind tasted by an expert panel of independent judges and assessed according to their taste, appearance and aroma.

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. Combining tradition and innovation, Sandford Orchards harnesses these natural assets to produce an award-winning range of core session, flavoured, traditional and fine ciders.

For further information on Sandford Orchards please visit, follow Sandford Orchards on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

MPs Celebrate World Cider Day

MPs Celebrate World Cider Day

MPs joined thousands of cider enthusiasts around the world this week to raise a glass in celebration of cider.  As the largest global cider market, UK cider makers shared a wide range of different types of ciders in celebrate of this annual event. Representing the counties of Herefordshire, Somerset, Devon and beyond, ciders were displayed in various bar locations within the Palace of Westminster for the first week of June, recognising how World Cider Day has grown from humble beginnings, to an event that is celebrated in markets globally, from beaches in Australia to bars in the US, with cider makers in South Africa, Japan and across Europe holding special events to celebrate this important date in their calendar.

MPs were invited to sample traditional ciders that have been at the heart of the industry for decades, alongside newer innovations including a selection of low alcohol ciders that are gaining significance in the UK marketplace. A range of bag-in-box ciders were on display, showing the importance of the still cider category to the hospitality sector and the range of locally sourced ciders reflected the importance of cider apple orchards in the UK.

Mark Hopper, Public Affairs Director of the National Association of Cider Makers commented that “The traditions of cider making go back centuries in the UK, with roots firmly in rural communities, it is of great importance for farming and employment in these areas. Bringing together MPs to sample such a wonderfully diverse range of ciders, reflecting the importance of the category and the wide range of flavours that can be created from a simple apple is something to celebrate.”

Sir Bill Wiggin MP, Member of Parliament for North Herefordshire, said, “I am delighted to celebrate World Cider Day with a glass of cider and offer colleagues within the Houses of Parliament a chance to sample the fabulous and wide-ranging ciders made by Great British cider makers.”





Industry Recognises Parliamentary Cider Champions

Industry Recognises Parliamentary Cider Champions

UK cider industry leaders gathered in Westminster on 24 May to recognise the MPs who champion cider companies, the people who work for them, the farmers growing cider apples and the rural communities that benefit from the Great British cider industry.

The event organised by the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM), was hosted by Sir Bill Wiggin MP, President of the All-Party Parliamentary Cider Group (APPCG).

MPs from cider growing areas including the West Midlands and South West were recognised for their long standing commitment to the industry. Cider Makers from across the regions presented MPs with a personalised gift box including a selection of British ciders and a commemorative cider glass.

Speaking at the event, James Crampton, Chair of the NACM commented that “the MPs who were recognised this evening go above and beyond to ensure that our small, rural industry is recognised for its great contribution to the UK and to British culture. It was great to finally gather people together after a gap of more than two years, to say thank you for their support and for making sure that cider making and cider apple growing remain a priority for the government. The continued support of these MPs is critical to sustain the livelihoods of the 11,500 people that rely on the industry”.

Sir Bill Wiggin MP, Member of Parliament for North Herefordshire, said, “it is always a delight to represent and promote Great British cider makers and the fantastic ciders that they produce.

“Cider making contributes to our rural counties including Herefordshire and as the UK are global market leaders we should be proud to support this fantastic British success story.”

Members of Parliament Recognised

Sir Bill Wiggin MP, North Herefordshire
Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, Bridgwater & West Somerset
Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP, Hereford & South Herefordshire
Harriett Baldwin MP, West Worcestershire
Rt Hon Mel Stride MP, Central Devon
Rebecca Pow MP, Taunton Deane
John Penrose MP, Weston-super-Mare

Cider Makers presenting Awards

James Crampton, Chair of the NACM and Corporate Affairs Director at Heineken UK
Helen Thomas, Managing Director at Westons Cider
Martin Thatcher, Managing Director at Thatchers Cider
Barny Butterfield, Owner at Sandford Orchards
Geoff Thompson and his daughter Eliza Thompson, Owner at Oldfields Cider
David and Louisa Sheppy, Managing Director at Sheppy’s Cider



The results are in for this year’s Sandford Orchards Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards and the 2022 gold winner is Moons Cider with silvers being awarded to Rawlins Family Cider and Artistraw. The Sandford Orchards Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards, now in their second year, are remarkable awards that offer aspiring cider makers advice, guidance and guaranteed listings in the on and off trade and truly support the future of cider in the UK.

Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker at Sandford Orchards and instigator of the awards comments: “Unlike other awards we provide detailed actionable feedback for absolutely everyone who entered, with constructive comments that we hope will help them develop their cider making skills. After the success of the first competition back in 2020, we were thrilled to see so much interest in the awards this year.”

Tom Moon from Moons Cider was delighted to receive the award and says: “Winning the Sandford Orchards Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards’ means a lot to me. With the high standard of ciders that were entered into the competition, it makes all the hard work that goes into cider making worth it when you achieve a Gold award like this.”  

Barny continues: “We had a total of twenty entries, from thirteen different counties, with all styles of cider being represented. Naturally sweet to single variety, session ciders to bottle fermented. The judges were very impressed with the level of quality of the ciders entered – a significant improvement from the inaugural competition. A real compliment to the standard of cider now being produced in the UK.”

The judging panel was a veritable who’s who in the world of cider including The Ciderologist, Gabe Cook and renowned cider maker, Tom Oliver who were joined by drinks writer, Susy Atkins, Rich Clancy from The Stable and George Dart from Darts Farm.

Tom Oliver comments: “I was blown away with these cider makers’ endeavour, intent and inspiration. A hugely impressive group, and a worthy winner – clearly a young man full of ambition and energy.”

Gabe Cook adds: “This year’s awards were a step up from the last outing, in both liquid and packaging. There was a pleasing range of styles and occasions from bone dry to grippy, and keeved. An array of playful techniques and a fantastic geographical spread.”

The prize packages which will be awarded to the winner and two runners up include a 12 month listing at Darts Farm, Devon, a listing at a local Stable Pizza and mentoring from Sandford Orchards, including a tour of their site. The overall winner will also receive a £500 Vigo voucher, a Sandford Orchards collaboration limited edition cider and a visit to the winner’s site by Sandford Orchards’ cider makers to offer practical help and advice about set up.

Barny finishes: “It has been so rewarding to be part of these awards, to see them grow and to meet so many enthusiastic cider makers. My congratulations go to Moons Cider, Rawlins Family Cider and Artistraw. I will be watching with interest to see how they capitalise on the support this fantastic award provides and I am already looking forward to next year’s competition with great excitement.”

For further information on the Sandford Orchards Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards please visit  email or follow Sandford Orchards on Twitter, Facebook and  Instagram.

Richard Fuller joins The Cotswold Cider Company as Chairman

Richard Fuller joins The Cotswold Cider Company as Chairman

Photo of Richard Fuller (l) and Rory Souter (r) founder of The Cotswold Cider Company

Fuller’s non-executive Director joins as craft cider business targets major expansion

Richard, sixth generation of the brewing family, sees “great opportunity for growth, both at home and abroad”

Richard Fuller has been appointed Chairman of the award-winning Cotswold Cider Company. The makers of distinctive real cider, whose products include No Brainer, Sideburns and Sweet Cheeks, are delighted to welcome Richard, from the legendary Fuller’s brewing family, on board.

Founder Rory Souter says

 “Richard joins us at a great time for the company as we expand our operations, and we’re very fortunate to be able to draw on his depth of experience in the trade. His previous involvement with Cornish Orchards cider, prior to its sale to Asahi, will be invaluable in taking our regional company forward and to help give real cider the recognition it deserves”.

Richard Fuller commented

“I am delighted to be joining such a forward-looking company that produces wonderful and very original natural craft ciders. There is a great opportunity for growth, both at home and abroad, and I am very excited about helping Rory and The Cotswold Cider Company realise its potential.”

The Cotswold Cider CoThe Cotswold Cider Company was founded in 2009 in Coleshill, Oxfordshire, and from the outset has set out to be a high quality cider brand, using low intervention techniques to produce full flavour craft ciders with playful personality and original character. It has achieved good organic growth with flagship national and regional accounts and a wide range of products and formats, including draught. The Cotswold Cider Company’s products are all fermented from 100% fresh pressed English apples, and never from concentrate; the range includes

(bottled cider) No Brainer, Sideburns, Sweet Cheeks, Blow Horn and Tuk
(canned cider) She Devil, Freak Show, Voodoo Pulp, Shape-Shifter

For more information please visit
or email / phone 07979 957136.