Devon’s Sandford Orchards, producer of authentic cider created by combining tradition and innovation, is thrilled to have won gold at the International Cider Awards for their Sandford Reserve, which is part of their recently launched vintage collection. This is the second highly prestigious international award bestowed on Sandford Reserve since it was released earlier this year, making it officially one of the best ciders in the world.

Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker at Sandford Orchards comments: “We are absolutely delighted to receive a gold from the International Cider Awards. Sandford Reserve won the only gold in the medium tannic cider class and this follows hot on the heels of its win at the World Cider Awards. This is truly a great achievement which confirms, what we already suspected, that Sandford Reserve is one of the best ciders around. We are so proud that this cider, made in Devon from apples from our orchards, has taken on and beaten the leading ciders from across the globe.”

The International Cider Awards, launched in 1888, is the ‘Oscars’ of international cider competitions and is one of the oldest competitions that is judged by cider makers. An International Cider Award is recognition, by fellow professional cider makers, that a cider is an outstanding example of its style.
Barny explains: ”This is a peer reviewed award, judged entirely by professional cider makers who have tested some fantastic ciders from across the globe. Amongst this showcase of impeccable products, in the category that represents around 90% of the British Cider Market, Sandford Orchards has marched off with the gold medal. This is the most amazing accolade. We are completely overwhelmed to have received this award. ”

Sandford Reserve (ABV 7.4%), a finest cask-aged cider, is the ‘exhibition’ cider of the recently launched vintage 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 for curry or spicy Asian food.

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 grasslands and its orchards. Crediton’s ‘Redlands’ boast a unique microclimate, sheltered between Devon’s huge moors. Long hours of warm sunshine and mineral rich soils produce the most flavoursome apples for cider imaginable.

Combining tradition and innovation, Sandford Orchards produces an award-winning range of core session ciders including Devon Red, Devon Dry and Devon Mist and fruit ciders; blackberry flavoured Fanny’s Bramble, Berry Lane using perfectly ripe raspberries, Old Blossom made from delicate Elderflower and an invigorating and zingy Cider Ginger. Their recently launched vintage cider collection includes Sandford Reserve, a finest cask-aged cider, Apple & Oak, a fresh oak-finished cider and a mighty vat-aged cider named ‘The General’. 

To celebrate this latest award, Sandford Orchards is offering 10% off purchases of Sandford Reserve at

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



Sandford Orchards, one of the fastest growing challenger brands in the cider industry, has bucked the business trend during the pandemic by investing £1.2 million into expanding its bottling and canning capabilities and developing and implementing a new branding strategy. Sandford Orchards, whose ethos is to produce the best tasting cider ‘done right’ is now well placed to meet an increased demand for real cider driven by a strong consumer interest in authenticity and quality.

Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker comments: “Whilst other businesses have retrenched during the last twelve months we have taken the opportunity to press forward with our expansion plans buoyed by an ever-growing number of consumers who are looking for an antidote to the standard commercial cider brands.”

Barny explains: “ At the end of 2019, we made the strategic decision to invest heavily in a full rebrand and we appointed award-winning branding agency Kingdom & Sparrow and market research agency Branding Express, who conducted focus groups across the UK. Blind tastings showed that consumers unanimously agreed that our cider tasted delicious, more natural and flavourful than mainstream alternatives. Our research also confirmed that there was a great opportunity for us as our ciders are far higher quality than the cheap mass produced ciders available but more accessible than the pricey craft options. This gave us the confidence to continue to invest in 2020 with the implementation of the rebrand and an expansion of our packaging capability to include setting up our own canning line for the first time.”

Barny elaborates: “At the beginning of the first lockdown our usual canning business became too busy to provide us with the capacity that we needed. We knew that canned cider offered us a huge potential market, as it is not well served by quality craft ciders, so we took the plunge and invested in our own in-house canning line which delivers 3,500 cans of cider per hour. In the same period we also purchased brand new state of the art bottling machinery to allow us to meet the growing demand for our products and match our ambitious projections. This has tripled our bottling rate to an impressive 6000 bottles an hour. Alongside this, we have also increased automation in our kegging line thus ensuring that we control the whole process from orchard to glass and have the ability to meet future demands.”

Barny continues: “We believe that we make the best tasting cider and we are proud to do it properly taking a fresh, natural, low impact approach and using the best apples in the world. With our new branding and expanded capacity we are starting 2021 in a strong position to meet the needs of our fast growing fan base as well as those consumers wanting to trade up to something more authentic and better tasting. We make simply great cider and we are optimistic that 2021 will be a simply great year for us.”

Founded in 2002, independent, family-owned Sandford Orchards is based in Mid Devon in the oldest working cider mill in the UK. They press and ferment whole juice from the finest locally grown bittersweet apples and age it to perfection to create beautifully balanced and naturally refreshing cider.

Sandford Orchards’ range of ciders includes session ciders and a selection of flavoured ciders which will soon be joined by some brand new vintage ciders due to be launched in March.

For further information on Sandford Orchards please visit
email or call 01363 777 822.

Follow Sandford Orchards on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


Setting up to sell your cider/perry – new guide

Setting up to sell your cider/perry – new guide

To comply with legislation there are a number of things you must do before you start selling your cider in the UK*.  NACM has put together a brief guide which leads you to the information and forms you may need to become registered.  The guide can be downloaded from the Cider Makers page of this website.

Please contact us if you would like further information.

* from 1 January 2021 there will be additional rules to sell in Northern Ireland


Thatchers Zero named Best No and Low Cider

Thatchers Zero named Best No and Low Cider

It was two years in the making, but now Thatchers Zero, the Somerset cider maker’s first alcohol-free cider, has been named Best No and Low Cider in the UK by industry magazine Imbibe.

Thatchers Zero was unveiled in January 2020 after a long development journey, and only when the cider maker was 100% happy with the cider’s taste, depth and appearance. By using a unique production process, Thatchers has been able to create an alcohol-free cider that doesn’t compromise on quality – and offers the premium experience people are looking for when enjoying a Thatchers cider.

Thatchers Zero is full of appley aromas and crisp refreshment. With a beautifully bright, golden appearance, crisp, medium dry taste, and fruity aroma, it is crafted using a selection of Thatchers favourite bittersweet apple varieties, creating a 0.0% cider with body, smoothness and character.

The Imbibe No and Low Taste Awards were launched to reflect the quality and range of products in what has become a significant sector of the drinks industry in recent times – one that has grown during lockdown and is predicted to continue to grow in the years to come.

Like all other ciders in its range, Thatchers Zero is gluten free and is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Thatchers Zero is available in high street retailers including Sainsbury’s and Co-Op, RRP £1.85. It is also available from specialist retailers including Dry Drinker and Wise Bartender, and from Thatchers


Fish in a Bag with Oldfields Applefresco Cider

Fish in a Bag with Oldfields Applefresco Cider

Fish in a bag with Oldfields Applefresco Cider

  • 1 x 130g white fish fillet, skinned (Halibut or other sustainably sourced white fish)
  • 1 small shallot, finely sliced (approx. 30g)
  • 5 cherry or small plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 6 black olives, sliced
  • 3 new potatoes, cooked
  • Few sprigs of basil, chopped
  • 1 small courgette, finely sliced (appox. 35g)
  • 1 bottle of Oldfields Applefresco cider
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Piece of tin foil 40cm by 30cm
  • Piece of parchment paper 25cm by 25cm
  1. Prepare all of your vegetables and basil so that they are sliced nice and small.
  2. Place them in a bowl and add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a good twist of salt and pepper. Mix together.
  3. Lay out the piece of foil and lay the smaller parchment in the middle. Place the mixed vegetables in the centre of the paper and lay the fish on top and add a little extra seasoning to the fish.
  4. Fold the foil and parchment in half, and bring the ends together to cover over the fish. Turn in and fold the sides of the square, so that the sides are closed and the top is still open.
  5. Pour 60ml of the cider into the top and then seal the top of the parcel folding it over twice, checking that all the sides are secure.
  6. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 20 minutes on 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6.
  7. Pull the tray out of the oven, and carefully cut a hole in the top to reveal your fish!
  8. Serve on a plate and enjoy with the rest of your Oldfields Applefresco cider!


Click here to watch on youtube. Alternatively, click here to have a look at other recipes by The Fuss Free Foodie involving ciders from our members!