Secret Orchard Cider, a craft producer based in the heart of Exmoor, has been awarded a prestigious Silver Medal at The British Cider Championships – the biggest cider competition in Europe – which took place at The Bath and West Show this month.
Co-founders Joe Heley and Todd Studley were thrilled to be awarded second place in the Dry Cider category in a blind tasting; with over 600 entries to the championships this year competition to impress the expert panel of judges was fierce.
Todd commented: “This is the first year we have put our ciders in for competitions, and we were overjoyed to gain national recognition the first time around. It makes all the hard work worthwhile, and has spurred us on to dream of even bigger things!”
Todd and Joe, who both grew up in Minehead on the edge of Exmoor, have been making cider at The Nettlecombe Estate for four years; production has grown year-on-year leading to an expanding range and an increasing list of local stockists.
The cider is made using 100% apple juice and small-batch production methods; fermentation uses wild yeasts and a low intervention approach is taken, allowing the quality of the fruit to remain at the forefront of the signature Secret Orchard style.
Joe explained the levels of work required: “We have hand-picked almost every apple ourselves, with some help from friends and family. We have pressed every single batch, and watched over each barrel as it slowly matures. That is why this award means so much to us. It goes without saying that we’ll be having a cider or two to celebrate…”
The silver medal was awarded for the Dry 2015 Secret Orchard Cider, which has just been released and is now available to buy – a sweet version is also available.
This latest vintage features a label by local graphic designer Carl Lewis or Carlos Design; the design was inspired by Czech Art Nouveau pioneer Alphonse Mucha.
Joe said: “We always work with local artists on our branding, and have previously been lucky enough to have a label designed by Leo Davey, an award-winning artist and illustrator based in Minehead.”
Buoyed by their awards success, Joe and Todd are busy taking their cider bar to local events and food festivals, investing in new equipment and working hard to keep a growing list of stockists supplied.
For more information visit www.secretorchardcider.com, where the 2015 vintage is available to buy online.