SANDFORD ORCHARDS LAUNCH THE 2023 BREAKTHROUGH CIDER MAKER AWARDS

SANDFORD ORCHARDS LAUNCH THE 2023 BREAKTHROUGH CIDER MAKER AWARDS

Sandford Orchards is delighted to launch the 2023 Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards. Now in its third year, these unique awards are free to enter and offer aspiring cider makers advice, guidance and guaranteed listings with the on and off trade. This year, the competition is open to cider makers making up to 50,000 litres a year. The closing date for applications is 28th February 2023. 

Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker at Sandford Orchards explains: ”We created the Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards three years ago to support the future of our precious UK cider industry. We aim to seek out Britain’s most talented cider makers and provide them with invaluable exposure, mentoring, advice and technical help as well as guaranteed listings in both the on and off trade. Winning this award provides small scale cider makers with the help and opportunities that they need to progress their business to the next level!”

The 2023 prize includes: business strategy mentoring with Barny Butterfied, founder of Sandford Orchards, a retail listing at Darts Farm, Devon, on-trade listing with one of The Stable restaurants and The London Cider House, £500 to spend with equipment and consumables supplier, Vigo limited, mentoring from Sandford Orchards’ cider makers, and a Sandford Orchards winner limited edition cider. Two silver winners will receive a £200 voucher to spend with The Bag in Box Shop. Moreover, everybody who enters will receive thorough, detailed, actionable feedback on their entry.

The winner will be chosen by a panel of expert judges. Tom Oliver, owner of Oliver’s Cider and Perry and one of last year’s judges comments: “It was a real honour to be able to taste some of the more forward thinking and progressive cider makers at last year’s Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards. The amount of discussion that ensued between the judges was a great indication of the quality of the cider but also of the many aspects that cider makers need to cover. They must want to grow, whether it is in size or quality, must give great attention to labels, both legally and design wise. They must leave the judges feeling that they really do want to “make a go of things”. If you think as a maker this is you, then this is the award to go for.”

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 50,000 litres of cider per year who can enter now at www.sandfordorchards.co.uk/cider-awards/.

Sandford Orchards would like to thank the generous sponsors of this year’s competition: Vigo Ltd who are providing a £500 voucher for the gold winner,  The Stable and The London Cider House who will give the Gold winner a listing and The Bag in Box Shop who are giving away £200 vouchers to two silver winners.

For further information on Sandford Orchards and the Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards please visit www.sandfordorchards.co.uk email cider@sandfordorchards.co.uk or follow Sandford Orchards on Twitter, Facebook and  Instagram

Image of last year’s judging available here.

 

 

Sandford Orchards celebrate their 20th anniversary

Sandford Orchards celebrate their 20th anniversary

In 2002 Barny Butterfield began making cider in a shed. Fast forward 20 years and he is Chief Cidermaker and owner of Sandford Orchards, a business that produces over 7 million pints of cider per year, yet still retains Barny’s original vision, to produce the best tasting cider ‘done right’.

Barny Butterfield comments: “ In the beginning, cider making was really just a hobby but one that I seemed to have some talent for. It was also something that I was incredibly passionate about, right from the outset. Eventually, it was clear that either my hobby or my day job had to go and I made the decision to put all my efforts into Sandford Orchards. It is a decision that I have never regretted. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to create such a successful business doing something that I truly enjoy.”

In the early years, business growth was slow, as Barny navigated a steep learning curve with limited staff (mostly family and friends paid in cider) and equipment. However, producing top quality cider was always his focus and in 2010 he won CAMRA Champion Cider of Great Britain. This threw Sandford Orchards into the spotlight and this recognition gave Barny the confidence to invest in and expand the business. 

The next step was to buy the Cider Works in Crediton and bring it back to life as the oldest working cider mill in the country. This enabled Sandford Orchards to increase capacity and establish itself as a serious player in the cider industry. Growth continued at a steady pace and then at the end of 2019, they made the strategic decision to invest heavily in a full rebrand. Alongside this, they expanded their packaging capability by setting up their own canning line, replacing their bottling line with brand new state of the art machinery and increasing automation in their kegging line. 

Barny explains: “The last few years have seen the most rapid growth for the business. Having invested over £1.2 million in 2020 on our rebrand and new equipment, we can now produce 3,500 cans per hour and 6,000 bottles, so that we can supply more of our great tasting cider to more people. This means that, as well as being available in pubs, hospitality venues, off licences and independent shops, our cider has also now made it onto the shelves of high street retailers including Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Aldi, Spar  and The Co-op.”

Although the business, in some ways, has grown beyond all recognition from its humble beginnings in a lean-to on the farm, it still shares his original vision to create fantastic authentic cider. Over the years, Sandford Orchards’ cider has scooped a host of national and international awards that confirm that they are continuing to produce some of the best cider around. However, Barny is never one to rest on his laurels, he wants to ensure that generations to come can continue to enjoy award-winning cider, which is why he is working hard to protect orchards for the future and encourage the next cohort of real cider makers.

Barny elaborates: “They’ve been making real cider in the UK for over 2,000 years and I want to make sure that tradition continues. Recently, we’ve been working with Bristol University to map the DNA of ancient apple trees in our orchards, so we can identify vulnerable and unique varieties and protect them for the future. We also want to encourage the next batch of cider makers and have instigated The Sandford Orchards Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards, which offer aspiring cider makers advice, guidance and guaranteed listings in the on and off trade.”

Meanwhile, Sandford Orchards continues to grow at the fastest pace in its 20 year history. Barny adds: “ We are proud to still be an independent, family-owned business and we are in a really healthy place that allows us to reinvest in the business and our staff. We still press and ferment whole juice from the finest apples and age it to perfection to create fabulous cider. Our continued growth simply means more people get to enjoy it and that is exactly why I started making cider twenty years ago.”

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

Sandford Orchards wins Gold at the World Cider Awards

Sandford Orchards wins Gold at the World Cider Awards

Devon’s Sandford Orchards, producer of authentic cider created by combining tradition and innovation, is thrilled to have won Gold at the World Cider Awards for Katja (ABV 8%), its Martinotti style fine sparkling cider.

Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker at Sandford Orchards comments: “We are absolutely thrilled to win this award. Katja is a crisp, modern, single varietal, sparkling cider, crafted from the Katy dessert apple. It has already scooped a number of awards and accolades, since we first produced it in 2021, but receiving this Gold World Cider Award is our proudest moment yet. Katja has beaten off ciders from around the globe to gain international recognition as a gold medallist in the modern carbonated cider category.”

The annual World Cider Awards 2022 judged over 100 ciders from more than 10 countries. An international and highly respected judging panel blind tasted and scored the entries to identify the best ciders in each category. Anita Ujszaszi, Awards Director, said: “The winners demonstrated that across the world, ciders are increasing in quality and innovation and we are very excited to see what’s in store for next year already.”

Katja is a single apple variety cider. Sandford Orchards presses the apples and ferments them cool with a white wine yeast to enhance its fresh and fragrant apple characteristics. Katy as an eating apple translates well into cider and creates an elegant sparkling-wine like drink, but with softer acidity. Bottled with a good fizz, Katja makes a beautiful alternative to Prosecco.

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 grazing and ability to grow apples. Crediton sits in the lee of the moors, so receives the right amount of rain and the right units of heat in summer. Combining tradition and innovation, Sandford Orchards harnesses these natural assets to produce an award-winning range of core session, flavoured, traditional and fine ciders.

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

 

 

Sandford Orchards’ Vintage Ciders awarded silver medals

Sandford Orchards’ Vintage Ciders awarded silver medals

Devon’s Sandford Orchards, producer of authentic cider created by combining tradition and innovation, is thrilled to have been awarded silver medals for all three of its vintage ciders at the International Cider Challenge 2022. The General, Sandford Reserve and Apple & Oak  each received a silver medal at the prestigious awards.

Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker at Sandford Orchards comments: “We are absolutely delighted to receive silver medals for each of our vintage ciders at the International Cider Challenge, which is considered to be one of the most authoritative, respected and influential cider competitions in the world. We launched our vintage ciders last year after trialling more than forty different potential variations before whittling them down to these three, each of which boasts their own unique characteristics. We have been thrilled with our selection but it is always nice to know that the experts think they are pretty special too. These vintage ciders have now won an impressive haul of awards between them including a gold and silver at The World Cider Awards and a gold at the International Cider Awards.”

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 this new 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 to curry or spicy Asian food.

Apple & Oak – Fresh Oak-Finished Cider (ABV 6.7%)

‘Apple and Oak’, is a dry vintage cider aged in new oak barrels. It showcases youthful, ripe, bittersweet apple flavours which are complemented by hints of vanilla and toasty oak. The ideal accompaniment to a cheese ploughmans or cured meats, it’s the ‘cider nouveau’ of the collection.

The International Cider Challenge is founded on a rigorous and independent judging process, which serves to reward and celebrate the diversity and range of varying styles of international cider. Ciders entered into the tasting categories are blind tasted by an expert panel of independent judges and assessed according to their taste, appearance and aroma.

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 grazing and ability to grow apples. Crediton sits in the lee of the moors, so receives the right amount of rain and the right units of heat in summer. Combining tradition and innovation, Sandford Orchards harnesses these natural assets to produce an award-winning range of core session, flavoured, traditional and fine ciders.

For further information on Sandford Orchards please visit www.sandfordorchards.co.uk, follow Sandford Orchards on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Industry Recognises Parliamentary Cider Champions

Industry Recognises Parliamentary Cider Champions

UK cider industry leaders gathered in Westminster on 24 May to recognise the MPs who champion cider companies, the people who work for them, the farmers growing cider apples and the rural communities that benefit from the Great British cider industry.

The event organised by the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM), was hosted by Sir Bill Wiggin MP, President of the All-Party Parliamentary Cider Group (APPCG).

MPs from cider growing areas including the West Midlands and South West were recognised for their long standing commitment to the industry. Cider Makers from across the regions presented MPs with a personalised gift box including a selection of British ciders and a commemorative cider glass.

Speaking at the event, James Crampton, Chair of the NACM commented that “the MPs who were recognised this evening go above and beyond to ensure that our small, rural industry is recognised for its great contribution to the UK and to British culture. It was great to finally gather people together after a gap of more than two years, to say thank you for their support and for making sure that cider making and cider apple growing remain a priority for the government. The continued support of these MPs is critical to sustain the livelihoods of the 11,500 people that rely on the industry”.

Sir Bill Wiggin MP, Member of Parliament for North Herefordshire, said, “it is always a delight to represent and promote Great British cider makers and the fantastic ciders that they produce.

“Cider making contributes to our rural counties including Herefordshire and as the UK are global market leaders we should be proud to support this fantastic British success story.”

Members of Parliament Recognised

Sir Bill Wiggin MP, North Herefordshire
Ian Liddell-Grainger MP, Bridgwater & West Somerset
Rt Hon Jesse Norman MP, Hereford & South Herefordshire
Harriett Baldwin MP, West Worcestershire
Rt Hon Mel Stride MP, Central Devon
Rebecca Pow MP, Taunton Deane
John Penrose MP, Weston-super-Mare

Cider Makers presenting Awards

James Crampton, Chair of the NACM and Corporate Affairs Director at Heineken UK
Helen Thomas, Managing Director at Westons Cider
Martin Thatcher, Managing Director at Thatchers Cider
Barny Butterfield, Owner at Sandford Orchards
Geoff Thompson and his daughter Eliza Thompson, Owner at Oldfields Cider
David and Louisa Sheppy, Managing Director at Sheppy’s Cider