Why We’ve Launched The Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards

The Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards

The Secret Of Our Success

Not wanting to blow our own trumpet but the rate at which we’ve grown, from a hobby business in 2010 to employing 25+ within ten years is something we’re very proud of.

Barny began making cider in 2002 as a way to subsidise his wages as a farm labourer. He started out by making a few gallons in an old shed and bottling it on his kitchen table. As all his friends and family kept drinking it, he started to make more and has made a bit more every year since. It wasn’t long before he outgrew the shed and in 2015 Sandford Orchards moved into The Cider Works in Crediton, one of the oldest working cider mills in the country.

It’s a story of challenges, and in a landscape of sell-outs and acquisitions and industrial scaled multi-nationals we’re keen to see more companies that share our vision of a cider landscape dominated by quality and integrity. That’s why we’ve created these awards as we want to share our experiences with other budding cider makers and encourage more exciting new entrants to the category.

A Refreshingly Different Style Of Awards

When we were building the business – and to date we’ve won a pile of awards – but as fantastic as those awards are (and they are really fantastic) they didn’t give us any next steps – any real idea of what to do next, or what to try. The truth is that making cider is a complex and consuming job – but it doesn’t equip you for selling it, marketing it or making good decisions that will help get your cider further from your barn door.

As Barny says: ‘We want to reach out to aspiring cider makers – and offer them what I’d have given my right arm for, not a rosette – but advice and guidance.”

A Bit Like The A-Team

We have assembled a group of similarly motivated individuals from the industry, who are standing by ready to help our winners make their next steps in the industry.  Senior buyers from national chains, cider makers with combined experience in excess of 200yrs, industry leading designers and retailers.

All entrants will receive thorough and detailed, actionable feedback on their cider. The winners will all receive advice and mentoring from our cider makers, a chance to sell their product at Dart’s Farm and their most local Stable bar. The supreme champion will also receive branding consultancy and a £500 voucher to spend on cider making equipment.

“If ever there was something that demonstrates the beauty of the cider community, this is it. Helping each other, giving back, building an industry from the roots up. I applaud Sandford Orchards wholeheartedly, and I can’t wait to see who the deserving winner is going to be!”

Gabe CookThe Ciderologist

A Timely & Well-Intentioned Initiative

“The wonder of being a Cider drinker and enthusiast today is observing the new generation of Cider producers following in the footprints of cider’s traditions and cider greats to carve out an excellence of their own.

I’m convinced that the future of Cider lies in attracting the interest of the curious drinkers of the Craft Beer World; of those drinkers of Natural Wine looking for provenance and integrity; of those looking for fine drinks to match with food; and most of all the youngest generation of drinkers looking to a sustainable future.

This is an exemplary initiative by Sandford Orchards, to exactly match that future by giving a helping hand to some of that new generation of cider makers – an initiative based on encouraging quality and integrity.”

Dick Withecombe, ‘Cider Buzz Mcr’ and ‘#McrCiderClub’

Fancy Yourself As A Budding Cider Maker?

Then get involved! The Breakthrough Cider Maker Awards are a brand new competition, recognising and celebrating excellent quality whole juice ciders from around the UK. Free to enter and open to cider makers producing between 3,000 and 15,000 litres of cider per year. Go here to find out more.

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