Momentum grows as fresh blood takes the helm of Britain’s leading craft cider association

Momentum grows as fresh blood takes the helm of Britain’s leading craft cider association

Albert Johnson of Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry Company and Lydia Crimp of Artistraw Cider [Photo: Rebecca Fletcher]

Craft cider and perry producers around the country stand to gain as Albert Johnson of Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry Company, and Lydia Crimp of Artistraw Cider, are elected to the top two roles at the Three Counties Cider & Perry Association (TCCPA).

“It is a privilege to chair the largest membership association of small cidermakers in the UK,” said fourth generation cidermaker Albert. “My father, Mike, was a founding member of the TCCPA, so to continue the legacy is very special.”

Lydia, co-founder of Artistraw Cider and co-chair of the pan-industry group, Cider Women, joins Albert as his deputy. “I am excited to be given the opportunity to add to the TCCPA’s already rich history,” said Lydia. “It’s an honour to be working with such dedicated and talented people.”

Representing over 100 cider producers located far beyond the association’s original boundaries of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, the vibrancy and energy of the revitalised sector is symbolised by members’ desire not just to reach out to consumers but also to learn and move forward.

First up will be CraftCon 2024, at the beginning of April. “This will be the fifth anniversary of this landmark event, organised and hosted by the association,” said Albert. “I hope to build on what we have achieved in the last five years to continue to achieve our aims of supporting and promoting the interests of cider and perry producers in our Three Counties region, but also all across the UK.”

“With five weeks to go, I’d urge all fellow cider professionals to join us for what will be an incredible couple of days with many of the world’s leading lights sharing their wisdom,” said Albert.

“As always, the CraftCon programme will cover topics within three main strands of orcharding, cidermaking and business and marketing. This year, with more speakers and more subjects being covered than ever before, there really is something for everyone! In amongst all of the learning CraftCon also offers excellent networking opportunities throughout the conference, culminating in the now famous Friday evening bottle share,” said Lydia.

CraftCon 2024 takes place on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th April 2024 at the Royal Agricultural University, Circencester. Over two days there will be over 20 speakers and panellists presenting interactive workshops and seminars aimed at aspiring and existing cidermakers in the UK and beyond. There will be two keynote speakers: Adam Wells, co-founder of and author of forthcoming book, Perry: A Drinkers’ Guide, and James Crowden renowned and award-winning author and poet.

“My predecessor, Dave Sanders brought the membership back together after the disruption of COVID to ensure the successful re-establishment of CraftCon,” said Albert, “The quality this year will be a fitting legacy to all his hard work.”

“We look forward to seeing you there,” said Lydia. “The future of cider looks very bright indeed!”

CraftCon is being generously supported by lead sponsor, The National Association of Cidermakers, as well as The London Cider House and Pershore Press, with other sponsors to be confirmed.


  • The TCCPA was founded in 1993 by a group of craft scale cider makers who came together at the cider and perry trials run by the The Big Apple in the parish of Putley in Herefordshire. From these early beginnings, membership has now grown significantly. With over 100 members, the TCCPA seeks to represent and support small craft cider and perry producers and enthusiasts via several means, including that of education and training.
  • Membership of the TCCPA extends beyond the borders of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire and is open to cidermakers, large and small, aspiring or commercial, hobbyists or advocates, and others with an interest in the cider world. Contact membership secretary, Tom Tibbits, for further details.
  • On Tuesday 30th  January 2024, TCCPA held its Annual General Meeting at The Cider Museum in Hereford. At the AGM, Albert, Lydia and the new committee was elected.
  • Further information about CraftCon 2024 is available on the TCCPA’s dedicated CraftCon website and on Instagram and Facebook.
Traditional cider apple harvesting using a hooklug [Photo: Rebecca Fletcher]

Traditional cider apple harvesting using a hooklug [Photo: Rebecca Fletcher]



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.

Blossomtime is back!

Blossomtime is back!

The buds are starting to burst on the apple trees, last autumn’s cider is getting ready to be tasted, and the time is fast approaching for Blossomtime in and around Putley in Herefordshire where the Big Apple has been welcoming visitors for thirty years.  Having cancelled this spring event in 2020 and 2021, the community organisation behind the Big Apple is delighted to be able to invite them back again on Sunday 1 and Monday 2 May.  “When we were able to hold our autumn event last October, visitors were enthusiastic about the opportunity to enjoy being out and about in the countryside”, said spokesman Jackie Denman.  “Our cider and perry community responded so positively when we managed to arrange a delayed Big Apple Cider and Perry Trials in July 2021.  Now we can bring it all together again, with a Grand Cider Tasting at Putley Parish Hall, time spent under the apple trees at Dragon Orchard, and one-off events at Court Farm Aylton and Pixley Festival Church.  The full programme is available online at  We can’t wait to get back!”

Elmley FoundationAs well as opportunities to taste a whole range of entries to the Cider and Perry Trials, cider and perry on sale will include artisan makers Artistraw Cider and Perry, Bartestree Cider, Gregg’s Pit Cider and Perry, Halfpenny Green Cider Company and Pope’s Perry.  Highlights include ‘#RethinkCider’, a talk from Jane Peyton, the UK’s first accredited ‘pommelier’ and founder of the School of Booze, and drop-in printmaking with Laughing Betsy, supported by the Elmley Foundation, using ‘kitchen lithography’ and inspired by objects and images on loan from local families associated with cidermaking and apple growing.   Three guided walks each day will tell the stories of the orchards in and around Putley – will it be Norman’s Gap, Dorothy’s Delight or Nigel’s Pride?  And, of course, there will be the usual delicious lunches and teas (and this time a brunch) provided by local community groups.

Jackie Denman
Secretary, Big Apple Association Ltd.
Tel. 01531 670544