Sustainability and diversity have been placed at the heart of CraftCon 2021 as it heads online, on 29 and 30 April.
Hosted by the Three Counties Cider & Perry Association, CraftCon is the only professional conference in the UK dedicated to the craft cider sector.
While legendary cider authority Andrew Lea will open the virtual conference taking the audience to where cider apples began, with his journey to the Tian Shan foothills of Kazakhstan, Bill Wiggin MP and Ian Liddell-Grainger MP will join the National Association of Cider Makers’ Mark Hopper and SIBA’s Barry Watts on the final afternoon on a panel exploring to explore the case for duty reform.
“We are delighted that Eleanor Léger from Eden Ciders, the new president of the American Cider Association, will be joining us to speak on ice cider,” says TCCPA chair Simon Day, Once Upon A Tree. In addition, taking advantage of the virtual nature of the conference, US cider luminaries sharing their wisdom with CraftCon delegates include Ria Windcaller, MC of leading podcast CiderChat, Brian Rutzen, aka Cider Brian, and ANXO Cidery’s Sam Fitz.
Sessions over the two days will encompass sustainability in all its forms, from orchard biodiversity with a panel chaired by James Marsden, Gregg’s Pit, through to economic sustainability, with a panel featuring producers of all sizes, including Barny Butterfield, Sandford Orchards, and Polly Hilton, Find & Foster.
Cider production features strongly, with sessions including the joy of single variety ciders, with the Johnson family, Ross on Wye Cider & Perry, what makes great dry cider, chaired by James Finch, the Cider Critic, the technical challenges posed by kegging, chaired by Gabe Cook, The Ciderologist, and co-ferments and cider hybrids, with Pilton Cider’s Martin Berkeley and Once Upon A Tree’s Simon Day.
Chris Atkins, Ragged Stone Cider & Perry, organiser of the Perry Festival at the Three Counties Autumn Show, will share his passion for perry, talking delegates through the unique flavour and heritage proposition it offers while also shining a light on its future.
The pan-industry group Cider Women will take the gender debate one step further with an interactive session focusing on how all can work together “to shape the future and grow this dynamic and creative industry“. Meanwhile, Helen Anne Smith, founder of the Burum Collective, will be joined by Ren Navarro, of Beer. Diversity. North America, to focus on Improving Diversity, Inclusion and Equality.
“Alongside these sessions will be opportunities for networking chats, an online trade show and we’ll be bringing tasting sessions too,” says Simon Day.
A CraftCon 2021 Tasting Box is being put together. “These products will relate to the speakers and their talks,” says Lucie Mayerová, TCCPA communications officer. “While we can’t have our popular bottle share, we want to make sure that we offer a full experience and that all enjoy the event as much as possible.”
“When CraftCon started in 2019, it was a landmark moment for UK craft cider producers – finally we had an event for cidermakers, from cidermakers,” says Albert Johnson, Ross on Wye Cider & Perry Co and TCCPA secretary. “The technical and business knowledge and expertise that was shared and the connections forged was of enormous benefit to all who attended. I’m so happy we are able to have that experience again, this time online, to help bring cidermakers from all over the country – and indeed the world – together.”
All sessions will be recorded and accessible by ticket holders afterwards.
“CraftCon will help attendees become more informed, make better business decisions, and ultimately, produce better quality cider for the drinker at home,” says Albert Johnson. “I can’t wait!”
The TCCPA is most grateful to the National Association of Cider Makers and CraftCon’s confirmed Gold sponsors Vigo Ltd, Lallemand and Core Equipment. Without their support, this event would not be possible.
For further information, head to craftcon.co.uk
Tickets cost £25 for members of TCCPA and £40 for non-members, which include 1-year membership.