Fresh look enables 2018 Cider & Perry Festival to reach new audience

Heritage, orchard biodiversity, the next generation of cidermakers, handmade bunting and the ever-popular Cider Bar added up to a vibrant revamp for the 2018 Cider & Perry Festival.
Hosted by the Three Counties Cider & Perry Association at the Royal Three Counties Show in Malvern back in mid-June, thousands of visitors shared the wonders of the apple and the pear with some of its most successful exponents.
Ten of the region’s best cidermakers shared their ciders and perries, while the Ciderologist, Gabe Cook, cherrypicked some of the stars from show for his lively afternoon tastings.
The orchards came under the spotlight too. Alongside a Hunt the Apple quest, Clive’s Fruit Farm entertained dozens of kids with its talks, From Pip to Juice, including two very lively classes of schoolchildren on the schools day.
Acclaimed author Pete Brown spoke about Myth, Magic and the Meaning of Apples ahead of a book-signing of his award-winning 2016 work, The Apple Orchard. Danielle Newman of Natural England spoke about orchards as ‘real hotspots for biodiversity’, and Tom Tibbits from Artistraw gave a grafting demo.
A number of cidermakers also appeared as guests on the Cookery Theatre Stage as Matt Slocombe of The Crown at Woolhope matched some of the dishes being cooked with local ciders and perries.
The audience cast their vote in the Light Cider & Perry class, awarding the ever-popular Gwatkins the Mitchell Trophy.
Exhibitors included The Cider Museum, Hereford, sharing the heritage of cider and perry making , and Orchard Origins, the body dedicated to the care and restoration of traditional orchards. For those already involved – or on the verge of plunging in – Vitikit was on hand with its processing and packing equipment, and Vigo acted as lead Competition sponsor.
The Cider Bar provided a riot of flavour and character, with ciders and perries from: Barbourne Cider Co, Fletchers, Halfpenny Green, McCrindles, Napton Cidery, Out Of The Orchard, Pearson’s Cider Co, Ragged Stone, Severn Cider and Woodredding Cider.
Festival Manager Lydia Crimp was delighted with the response. Already planning 2019, she wanted to thank the Royal Three Counties Show for their support, the speakers for sharing their stories, and all the cidermakers and exhibitors for their enthusiasm and input.
With thanks to this year’s sponsors, the National Association of Cider Makers, Vigo Ltd, and international cider and perry distributor, Cider Cellars.
Catch up on the winners of this year’s Three County International Cider & Perry Competition, and check out our new YouTube channel for interviews with a few of the winners.

Susanna Forbes