Breakthrough Cider Maker Competition

Breakthrough Cider Maker Competition

Following the success of the inaugural Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards, entries are now open for 2022. These remarkable awards are free to enter and offer aspiring cider makers advice, guidance and guaranteed listings with the on and off trade. The closing date for applications is 28th February.

Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker at Sandford Orchards explains: ”The Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards are nothing like any other cider competition. It’s the competition that I wish I could have won when I was starting out. Without a budget, without much help and support, it can be really daunting trying to get started in any career, let alone cider. The winners of these awards benefit from priceless help on the journey: mentoring, advice on strategy and branding, technical help with cider production and guaranteed listing in both on and off trade. This is an award with the kind of bankable bonus that doesn’t grow on trees!”

The 2022 prize includes: business strategy mentoring with Barny Butterfield, founder of Sandford Orchards, a retail listing at Darts Farm, Devon, on-trade listing with one of The Stable restaurants, £500 to spend with equipment and consumables supplier, Vigo limited, mentoring from our cider makers, including a visit to our site and theirs and a Sandford Orchards winner limited edition cider. Moreover, everybody who enters will receive thorough, detailed, actionable feedback on their entry.

Barny continues: “The cider makers entering the Breakthrough Awards have their sights set on growing and improving all parts of their businesses and to get more of their fantastic ciders into more hands. The BCMA is a slingshot prize to a cider maker that the judges feel has the kind of promise, purpose and potential to go to the next level. We were overwhelmed by the high standard of entries last year and look forward to meeting even more dedicated fledgling producers this year.”

The winner of the inaugural awards was Thornborough cider. Owner, Kingsley Ash, explains: “Winning the Breakthrough Awards not only gave us validation and confirmation that we were doing the right thing, but also gave us access to a network of experts for advice, feedback, inspiration and guidance. The prizes themselves have been great, with the Vigo voucher enabling us to up our output, which was lucky as our orders increased significantly over the duration of the award. It has had a hugely positive impact on our business. Any cider makers with ambitions for growth should definitely apply.”

Barny adds: “I am so proud that Sandford Orchards has been able to make these awards a reality. It feels great to be able to give something back to the industry that has given me so much. Bringing cider makers together is always brilliant for sharing ideas and dreaming up plans which we all hope will bring the joy of cider to more and more people. By supporting the energetic future of cider across the country we hope to reach out to curious wine, beer and spirit drinkers and grow the love for this marvellous drink.”

The Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards were launched by Sandford Orchards at the end of 2019 and aim to recognise and celebrate excellent quality whole juice ciders from around the UK. They are free to enter and open to cider makers producing between 3,000 and 15,000 litres of cider per year who can enter now at sandford

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

  • Key Dates
    • Entries close 28th Feb
    • Sample deadline 7th Mar
    • Shortlist announced 21st March
    • April – winners announced.
  • The prizes for 2022 for the Gold & Silver winners are:
    • A 12 month listing at Dart’s Farm
    • A listing at their most local Stable
    • Mentoring from our cider makers, including a visit to our site
    • Everybody who enters will receive thorough, detailed, actionable feedback on their entry.
  • Additional prizes for the Gold winner are:
    • A £500 Vigo voucher
    • A Sandford Orchards winner limited edition cider
    • A visit to the winner’s site by our cider makers to offer practical help and advice about set up.
  • 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 and recently launched new vintage ciders.
  • For further information on Sandford Orchards please visit email or follow Sandford Orchards on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.