South West of England Cidermakers’ Association

Supporting the region’s growers and makers

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CiderCon 2014

The great and the good of the US cider industry gathered in a chilly Chicago on 4th February for its annual Cider Conference. A combination of networking opportunities, educational seminars and social mixers - including the Cider Tour to Virtue Cider (pictured) and Vander Mill Cider - were on offer to the 450 delegates from across the country.

Neil Worley from SWECA member Worley's Cider made the trip to see what\'s been happening in the US cider industry and found a vibrant, progressive and enthusiastic culture.

"Everyone's tremendously excited because the cider market is growing fast and looks set to become a very important element of the US drinks landscape," says Neil. "Although there's plenty of fruit in the country there isn't much bittersweet available, so the current emphasis is on getting trees in the ground or top-worked with cider varieties."

As might be expected though, a lack of cider fruit isn't stopping the entrepreneurial US spirit. The country's recent fascination with craft brewing, coupled with a broader category definition than here in the UK, has seen makers experimenting with a fascinating array of additions, from pomegranate to hops.

The seminar programme extended to six strands covering genaral issues, technical aspects of cider making, business, marketing and sales, academic, orcharding and sensory/tasting events.

All delegates agreed CiderCon 2014 was a resounding success. And the progressive, modern and ambitious character of the US industry, coupled with its powerful historical narrative make it crystal clear that this large group of makers and its industry infrastructure are set to become a major force in world cider.

Bath & West Show 2013

Just a little reminder that you still have a few days left to enter the world's biggest cider competition, if you haven't done so already. It's a great opportunity to grab yourself a gong that can carry a lot of weight. It's also an important showcase for SWECA members in particular, with the popular bar stocked with members' ciders.

Online entries for the world's largest cider competition close this Friday 19th April. Don't miss the boat

Informative SWECA Meeting held at Rich\'s

SWECA members and guests gathered at Rich’s Cider on March 14, courtesy of Jan, Martin, Brian and George Rich for what proved an informative day.

Bob Price, Director & Policy Advisor at the NACM, gave an enlightening talk on the current position of the proposed introduction of MUP, its reported demise in Cabinet and the possible future direction of the Government’s stated aim to tackle binge drinking and discounted alcohol sales.

Up next was Gilly Pollock who offered an introduction to the work and activities of the Orcharding Network of Excellence (ONE). Based in Herefordshire and formerly known as Herefordshire Orcharding Network of Excellence (HONE), the organisation is now extending its reach into the South West and has changed its name and activities accordingly. Gilly encouraged SWECA members to take this new opportunity to get involved either as a member (£75/yr) or simply by opting to receive free information updates. Anyone interested in participating and/or receiving the free email newsletters and updates should visit the ONE website at this link and register their contact details.

Robyn Dunwoodie of the Portman Group was due to give a presentation on the new edition of the Portman Group Code Of Practice but was unfortunately unable to attend due to illness. The venerable Bob Price once again stepped up to the plate, outlining the application of the code to product labelling.

After one of the best SWECA lunches anyone can remember in the Rich’s restaurant, Liz Copas and Neil Macdonald held a workshop on the pruning and care of standard cider apple trees.

Thanks again to all speakers for a very informative day, and a particularly big thank you to Jan and her team for the splendid hospitality.

Helping the region’s growers and makers

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