South West of England Cidermakers’ Association

Supporting the region’s growers and makers

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Winter Meeting 2014

SWECA held its winter meeting on Thursday March 20th at Thatchers Cider by kind invitation of Martin and John Thatcher. Sixty five people attended to listen to a packed programme of talks, followed after lunch by a tour of Thatchers cider-making facility.

Jez Howatt introduced his ideas for a PGI for Traditional English Cider and Perry, this certainly gave food for thought and members were asked contact Jez on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Thatchers Technical Manager Paul Dockerty gave a detailed presentation entitled Avoidance of Off Flavours in Cider, explaining the types of unwanted flavours that can be produced during fermentation and maturation and their respective causes. Paul emphasised that good hygiene and the avoidance of air contact post fermentation were of paramount importance.

Robert Fovarque, Agronomist with Pearce Seeds, gave a talk entitled Cider Apple Trees - Post Wet Weather highlighting signs to watch for and actions to be taken in the coming weeks and months following this winter's very wet weather. Damage may not be seen until June or July.

During the meeting John Thatcher and Richard Johnson judged members ciders in the first SWECA cider competition. Twenty one ciders were entered and before the presentations John Thatcher remarked that the ciders were of variable quality, some very good.

Prize Winners
1st Green Valley Cyder
2nd The Tricky Cider Co.
3rd St Ives Cider

1st Harrys Cider
2nd Shepton Mallet Cider Mill
3rd Worleys Cider

No prizes awarded

Champion Cider - Harrys Cider

The SWECA AGM will be be held on Thursday 25th September at Green Valley Cyder in Devon.

Bath & West Show British Cider Championships win NACM backing

The Royal Bath & West Society’s “British Cider Championships”, due to be staged for the first time at this year’s show (May 28-31) have won the backing of the National Association of Cider Makers.

The Royal Bath & West Show has been staging competitive classes for cider for well over 100 years, most recently as part of its hugely successful “Orchards and Cider” exhibition, but this is the first time it has organised a genuinely national championship.

Orchards and Cider Chairman, Anthony Gibson, said: “With over 500 entries last year, our cider competitions are already the biggest in Britain, and probably in Europe. So developing them into a national championship seemed the obvious and logical thing to do, in our mission to promote British cider as one of the finest drinks in the world.

“Winning the blessing of the NACM is hugely important because of the recognition which it provides that this will be a genuinely national championship, with industry-wide credibility and prestige. We’re expecting it to generate even more entries and even more publicity for the Champion British ciders.”

For the NACM, chairman Paul Bartlett, said: “British cider is going from strength to strength and we are delighted that the Royal Bath & West is organising these championships to raise the profile of the cider industry and celebrate the excellence of our products.

I would urge all British cider-makers, large and small, to get their entries in, so that the British Cider Championships become the biggest and the best possible showcase for the quality and variety of British cider.”

Entry forms are available on the Bath & West website.

(Photo ©Neil Worley)

Cornwall and South West Fruit Focus 5

Ever driven around the South West, seen a plot of under-utilised land and thought, Hmm - could get a few trees in there! Well, Dr Andrew Ormerod is hosting a conference at the Eden Project on just that subject on Friday 7th March, 10am-4:30pm

A wide range of topics will be covered during the day by a number of different speakers, but the main focus of the event is land use and growing and market opportunities  for fruit in the South West and Cornwall.

"The event is of interest to growers and potential growers of fruit in Cornwall and other parts of the South West,  users of fruit – retailers, caterers and manufacturers and policy makers," says Andrew

Anyone interested in attending should contact contact Andrew on 07908 978208 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  by Monday 3rd March. 

For a full list of the day's events, visit Andrew's blog here.

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