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.
Following its successful debut in 2019, CraftCon, the only UK conference for aspiring and existing commercial craft cider makers, returns in April with the key theme of sustainability running throughout its programme. This relates not only to the environmental impact of orchards and cider making, but also to equipping businesses with the ability to grow and to build a long term future.
“With 60% of the world’s cider produced in the UK, we are uniquely vulnerable to changes which affect the viability of orchards in the UK, both from a climatic and commercial perspective,” said programme chair Tom Tibbits of Artistraw Cider. “In uncertain times, fostering a resilient and vibrant industry founded on genuine sustainability will ensure future generations also inherit our ancient yet robustly modern cider culture.
Arriving at Pershore College on 24 and 25 April and organised by the Three Counties Cider & Perry Association, renowned cider authority Andrew Lea will provide context in his keynote address, reflecting on the work of Long Ashton Research Station and more recent progress in cider.
“With the ever rising interest in craft cider and perry, this event comes at exactly the right time to support a vibrant and growing industry,” said TCCPA chair, Simon Day of Once Upon A Tree. “Twice as big and twice as good as 2019, this year’s CraftCon has an amazing line-up of speakers and panellists who are ready to enthuse, educate and energise cider and perry producers from across the UK and beyond.”
With three strands covering the Cidery, Orcharding and Business, vital current topics to be covered include responding to the climate emergency, raising finance, and the quest for sustainable business models embracing duty reform.
BBC Food & Farming Drinks Producer of the Year, Ross Cider, appear amongst an impressive roster of talks drawn from all sectors of the independent cider sector, including presentations from Dave Matthews, Bartestree Cider, and Ragged Stone Cider’s Chris Atkins on the future of perry.
Orchard-strand highlights include Professor Paul Hadley, from the University of Reading who will improve our understanding of how future climate scenarios might impact perennial tree fruit crops in Apples in a Warming World while an orcharding expert panel explores Diversity in the Orchard.
The Ciderologist Gabe Cook will lead panels on kegging, while Pilton Cider’s Martin Berkeley joins Simon Day to explore co-ferments and cider hybrids.
SIBA’s head of public affairs, Barry Watts, joins NACM’s Mark Hopper to bring previous experience to assist the campaign for cider duty reform. Caitlin Braam, formerly of Seattle Cider Company and Angry Orchard and now president of Zafa Wines, will lend international inspiration on building a cider business, while Cider Women, the vibrant new pan-industry group, will take the opportunity to update on progress and to chart its future direction.
Cider Doctors, a chance for delegates to share their ciders with the experts, returns, as does the Grafting 101 masterclass led by Tom Tibbits.
The ever popular Cider Share takes place on the evening of the first day, with a new public event, Craft Cider Uprising, destined for The Angel Hotel in Pershore on Saturday 25 April. Sponsored by the National Association of Cider Makers, this will celebrate the remarkably rich gathering of cider talent with local townsfolk and cider fans from further afield. Full programme available here.
The county of Herefordshire is coming together to host the first conference of the recently-formed International Network of Cider Culture & Tourism Destinations this autumn. As interest in cider continues to grow throughout the world, “Ciderlands” as the network is known, seeks to promote travel and cultural exchanges between classic and emerging cider regions, as well as to act as a cider tourism beacon for the world as a whole. Comprising four days of activities across the county in peak harvest time, Ciderlands 2019 will offer an unparalleled showcase of the region’s proud cider heritage to the cider tourism professionals from throughout the network. In addition, a number of notable public events offer the opportunity to leave a legacy of celebrating the region’s unique cider culture within the local community. Delegates will enjoy the full Herefordshire experience, with visits to classic country pubs, a tour of the Mappa Mundi and the opportunity to visit The Big Apple’s Harvestime festival, complete with traditional cidermaking and apple displays. Crucially, Ciderlands provides an opportunity to remind Herefordians of cider’s great heritage as well as the role that cider continues to play in the county. A Cider Celebration will take place at The Cider Museum on Friday 11 October, while The Green Dragon will host a Cider Banquet the like the City has never seen on Saturday 12 October. To achieve this, the Museum of Cider, Hereford, is joining forces with The Big Apple Association, Hereford’s iconic city centre hotel, The Green Dragon, and tourism partners Hereford Tourism Information and Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire. Working alongside these organisations to bring this event to life are two of the country’s leading cider authorities: Gabe Cook, aka The Ciderologist, and Little Pomona co-founder and cider writer, Susanna Forbes. Support from The Pippin Trust, the Three Counties Cider & Perry Association, plus a host of cider producers large and small is enabling the conference to realise its vision. “Within the Ciderlands network, what stands out for me is how other countries with a strong cider heritage are proud to have cider at the heart of their regional identity,” said Elizabeth Pimblett, director of the Museum of Cider. “And, if visitors are excited by that in one part of Europe, it would be wonderful to create links that will draw them to the others.” “Herefordshire is one of the world’s greatest cidermaking regions and cultures”, said Susanna. “We want to share this with cider tourism professionals from all over the world.”
“I have had the privilege to travel the world to make, taste and judge cider,” said Gabe. “I can say with absolute confidence that some of the finest ciders and perries in the world are made right here. Ciderlands 2019 will give us the opportunity to celebrate these brilliant drinks with those from near and far.” Haritz Rodriguez, head of the Ciderlands secretariat, said: “There is a close cultural relationship between cider-producing countries. For this reason, as happens in other sectors, international cooperation is essential. At this crucial moment in cider’s evolution, we want to unite to cooperate in the development of this industry and above all to promote culture and tourism.”
Ciderlands 2019 is brought to you with the support of the following sponsors: The Pippin Trust • Green Dragon Hotel • Westons Cider • Heineken | Bulmer’s Three Counties Cider & Perry Association • The National Association of Cider Makers
instagram: @ciderlandsherefordshire • facebook & twitter: @Ciderlands2019