SANDFORD ORCHARDS PARTNERS WITH BRISTOL UNIVERSITY TO PRESERVE ANCIENT APPLE VARIETIES

SANDFORD ORCHARDS PARTNERS WITH BRISTOL UNIVERSITY TO PRESERVE ANCIENT APPLE VARIETIES

Award-winning cider maker, Sandford Orchards, is proud to announce that it is working with scientists from Bristol University to identify and preserve ancient apple varieties in their beautiful historic orchards in mid Devon. This ground breaking research aims to fingerprint thousands of cider apple trees in order to locate and propagate unique and threatened varieties.

Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker at Sandford Orchards comments: “Apples are at the heart of everything that we do. Our cider mill is the oldest working mill in the UK and some of our orchards are centuries old. We take our stewardship of these precious natural wonders very seriously and we jumped at the opportunity to unlock some of the secrets of these orchards that have long been forgotten. By mapping our apple trees we will be able to preserve them for future generations, ensure diversity in our stock and secure many more centuries of cider enjoyment.”

Keith Edwards, Professor of Crop Genetics at Bristol University, is leading the new research which aims to identify and map the nation’s traditional cider apple varieties. By punching a small hole in leaves from individual trees, his team is able to collect samples for DNA testing, while geographically tagging the particular tree using the What3Words geo-positioning system.

The team has spent the summer taking DNA samples from hundreds of Sandford Orchards’ apple trees and has been surprised by the varieties being grown in these older orchards in the Crediton area, which has long been famed for its cider.

Professor Edwards explains: “We thought that, being well-established orchards, we might only find a few different cider apple varieties in each, but that has not been the case. We have fingerprinted around 400 samples and I believe there will be a great many different varieties, many of them unique.”

Barny is awaiting the results of the research with bated breath. He says: “By using genetic-fingerprinting techniques we are able to wind back the clock. We can map a particular variety and see where it crops up in places like Devon and Somerset. That allows us to start building the picture so that hopefully we can reclaim some old varieties which make great cider. You only need one apple tree to propagate a whole new orchard so once we have identified key varieties that we would like to increase our stock of we can start planning for the future.”

He continues: “Using the new techniques we will find apples that could be important in changing the type of ciders we make. Each apple variety will behave in a certain way according to the local conditions and, by having a much better knowledge of the rich diversity of trees in our orchards, we might find wonderful cider apples which are ready to take on the challenge of a changing environment.”

As well as the environmental benefits of preserving a diverse range of apple trees for the future, Barny is also thrilled at the prospect of a renaissance of delicious single batch ciders. He explains: “So it might be that we find a tree that is the only one of its kind in the whole country. Or perhaps there’s just one in my orchard but a few elsewhere. The great thing is, because we are mapping the trees, I am going to be able to collect enough fruit from those trees to make a small amount of single-apple cider.”

Barny continues: “ We are keenly awaiting the results of this research but whatever Professor Edwards and his team uncover the outcome can only be positive for the environment and for cider-lovers.”

For further information on Sandford Orchards please visit www.sandfordorchards.co.uk

SANDFORD ORCHARDS CELEBRATES TWO WINS AT WORLD CIDER AWARDS

SANDFORD ORCHARDS CELEBRATES TWO WINS AT WORLD CIDER AWARDS

Sandford Orchards, producer of authentic cider created by combining tradition and innovation, is thrilled to have scooped two awards at the World Cider Awards for their ‘cider done right’. The General scooped a gold and Sandford Reserve received a silver. Both ciders are from Sandford Orchards vintage collection, which was launched earlier this year.

The World Cider Awards are the global awards selecting the very best in all the internationally recognised styles. They aim to award and promote the world’s best ciders to consumers and trade across the globe.

Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker at Sandford Orchards comments: “We are absolutely delighted to receive a gold and silver from the World Cider Awards. We are proud to make cider properly taking a fresh, natural, low impact approach and using the best apples in the world. A huge amount of effort went into creating our new vintage ciders. We were thrilled with the results and it is really rewarding to know that the award judges think our cider is pretty special too.”

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 the 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.

For further information on Sandford Orchards please visit www.sandfordorchards.co.uk

SANDFORD ORCHARDS ENSURES CIDER DONE RIGHT WITH £1.2M INVESTMENT

SANDFORD ORCHARDS ENSURES CIDER DONE RIGHT WITH £1.2M INVESTMENT

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 www.sandfordorchards.co.uk
email cider@sandfordorchards.co.uk or call 01363 777 822.

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