05th May, 2016
The National Association of Cider Makers (NACM) is proud to support The British Cider Championships at the Royal Bath and West Show. This heralded event holds a special place in the global cider calendar. Set in the Orchards and Cider section, not only is it the biggest competition of its kind in the world, but it also acts an AGM for cider makers: a time and place to get together and chew the fat. Stories are shared, jokes are told, great products are tasted and the unique heritage and tradition of cider is shared with tens of thousands of people.
Set in the heart of cider country, the Championships are wonderfully egalitarian as they provide a level playing field for cider makers of all scales, whether they be hobbyists, farmhouse traditionalists or commercial producers. The best ciders on the day will always win out. I have had the pleasure of judging in the past, and the sheer scale of the variety of ciders and perries on offer is mind boggling. It is fabulous to see how versatile and varied the output of fermented apples and pears can be when skill and ingenuity has been judiciously applied.
Uniquely, the Championships also provide a platform for ciders from all around the world to be showcased. Entrants from as far afield as USA, France, Spain, Poland and Ireland regularly are judged, demonstrating cider’s global heritage.
Education is also important to the Orchards and Cider section. Every year, renowned cider makers host tutored tasting sessions to talk through their varied products, deconstructing what their particular characteristics are, why they are desired and how they have been achieved. There’s nothing quite like hearing these cider secrets straight from the horse’s mouth.
After a visit to the Orchards and Cider section, hopefully members of the public will be inspired to start making their own cider, and who knows, maybe one day enter in the Great British Cider Championships.