South West of England Cidermakers’ Association

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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.

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.

Helping the region’s growers and makers

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Photography by Bill Bradshaw

 
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