By Rosie Breakwell • Published on 18th May, 2023
It is the first time in the last four years that entries have topped 500 and, according to the competition’s organisers, signals returning confidence in the traditional and craft sectors of the cider industry, after the depredations of first Covid and then the cost of living crisis.
The British Cider Championships is the biggest cider competition in Britain, and probably in Europe. It attracts entries from the length and breadth of the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland, although the traditional cider areas of the West of England are naturally strongly represented. Entries will be judged by some of the country’s top cider-makers, led by Master of Cider and Orchards and Cider Chief Steward, Bob Chaplin, with the winner receiving the Rupert Best Trophy for the Supreme Champion British Cider.
“It’s great news that entries have once again topped 500”, said Mr Chaplin. “Cider-makers have been hit as hard as many other craft food and drink producers by Covid and the cost of living crisis, with some falling by the wayside and many others having to focus exclusively on keeping their businesses afloat.
“The fact that entries are back to this level is a strong indication that the industry is bouncing back, helped, it must be said, by the fact that last year’s crop of cider apples was one of the best in recent years. On that basis, we are expecting excellent quality as well as additional quantity, as the ciders and perries entered in our Championships are produced to the highest standards, from the pure juice of home-grown fruit.”
Judging of the British Cider Championships will take place on the Thursday and Friday morning of the Royal Bath and West Show, in the Orchards and Cider Pavilion, with the awards being presented at 3pm on Friday June 2.
Besides hosting the championships, Orchards and Cider also offers a wide variety of the very best West Country ciders for sale through the South West of England Cider-Makers (SWECA) bar, and will also feature the ever popular People’s Choice, in which showgoers can taste and judge for themselves a selection of prize winning ciders from recent years.