Royal Bath & West Show 2013 Cider Results

The Royal Bath & West Show in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England, plays host to the world’s largest cider judging competition each spring. Somerset is perhaps England’s best known cider making county and its cidermakers typically take home a healthy share of awards, but entries come from all parts of the West Country and beyond. There were 16 different classes (categories) in the judging this year, with two of those dedicated solely to entries from outside the United Kingdom.

According to Alan Stone’s book Cider at the Bath & West Show, cider judging classes were first introduced at the 1895 show in Taunton. Even then the competition was what North Americans would call a pro-am; professionals and amateurs competed side by side. There were 14 entrants in four classes—two for cask ciders and two for bottled ciders—and the entrants hailed from all the main cidermaking regions of England. Interest in the cider classes has ebbed and flowed ever since; the cider classes disappeared from the program entirely in the ’60s and ’70s, but a revival of interest in cider that began in the early ’80s shows no signs of stopping. According to this post from the Royal Bath & West Society, this year’s judging received 518 entries, an all-time record. Last year’s competition received 498 entries; see my post on the 2012 competition for details.

The most sought after awards in the competition are from the Farmhouse classes, where the cider is made entirely from the previous year’s apple crop and presented to the judges in a one-gallon glass demijohn. This year there were 154 entries across the Dry, Medium, and Sweet classes. The three Bottled classes were also quite popular, with 142 entries across Dry, Medium, and Sweet. The other eight classes open to entries from within the UK accounted for 178 entries. These classes include entries for apple juice, sparkling cider, organic cider, single-variety cider, perry, and a class for overall impression of a bottled cider’s taste and presentation. For more specifics on these classes—including who the esteemed judges were for each class—read the Orchards & Cider Schedule from the Royal Bath & West Society site.

As might be expected, Somerset received the most awards of any county (16). Devon (11) and Gloucestershire (8) were close behind, with Hampshire (4) and Gloucestershire (4) farther down the list. As for individual cidermakers, Berry Farm of Devon picked up five awards, including a 2nd in the hotly contested Farmhouse Dry class. Nigel Cuff (Wessex Cider) of Hampshire picked up three awards, including a 1st in Farmhouse Sweet. Martin Soble (Carey Organic / Whitethorn Farm) of Herefordshire also picked up three awards, including a 1st in Organic Cider. Barnes and Adams of Gloucestershire picked up three awards as well, with 2nd place in both Perry and Farmhouse Medium. Larger producers Perry’s and Sheppy’s, both of Somerset, also won three awards each.

The most popular class aside from the Farmhouse and Bottled classes was International Cider, which had 52 entries this year. Uncle John’s from Michigan was awarded for a second straight year, this time picking up a 3rd place in International Cider. And Snowdrift from Washington added to its awards from last year’s Three Counties Show by picking up a Highly Commended in International Perry. (Bill Bradshaw’s photographic evidence of a Snowdrift bottle with a First Place tag conflicts with the results I’ve seen; I do not believe that the Royal Bath & West Society has publicly posted the official awards as of this writing.)

The results that follow are based on information I gathered from Michael Cobb’s and Andrew Lea’s posts on the Cider Workshop. These results may not be 100% correct, so I apologize if I am rebroadcasting incorrect information. For example, if Andrew’s numbers are right, there were 530 total entries rather than the 518 entries claimed earlier by the Society. I’d also welcome any details on Landshire Ciders, whose cider won 1st place in Farmhouse Medium and was also crowned as Champion Farmhouse Cider. The identity of the cidermaker from Asturias is also a mystery to me, though it appears to be same producer who was awarded in 2012.

The Worshipful Company of Fruiterers’ Perpetual Cup
Supreme Champion Cider (Classes 1-8, 12-14)
Champion: Woodredding Farm [Class 8]
Reserve: Hogan’s [Class 2]

Arthur Davies Cider Cup
Best Cider Adjudged (Classes 5 and 8)

Champion: Perry’s [Class 5]
Reserve: Woodredding Farm [Class 8]

The Worshipful Company of Pewterers’ Perpetual Cup
Best Farmhouse Cider (Classes 12-14)
Winner: Landshire Ciders [Class 13]
Reserve: Barnes and Adams [Class 13]

Vigo Apple Juice Trophy
Best Apple Juice (Classes 9-10)

Winner: Rich’s [Class 10]
Reserve: Armagh Cider Co. [Class 10]

Lawrence Reilly Perry Cup
Best Perry (Class 11)
Winner: Andrew Hecks
Reserve: Barnes and Adams

Weston’s Organic CIder Cup
Best Organic Cider (Class 4)

Winner: Martin Soble
Reserve: Berry Farm

SFM Technology Trophy
Best International Cider (Class 15)

Winner: Val de Rance


Dry Cider, Bottled (SG 1.008 or below)
Class 1 — 47 Entries
1st: Sheppy’s – Somerset
2nd: Nigel Cuff – Hampshire
3rd: Orchard Pig – Somerset

Medium Cider, Bottled (SG 1.008 to 1.015)
Class 2 – 59 Entries
1st: Hogan’s – Warwickshire
2nd: Rosie’s Triple D – Denbighshire, Wales
3rd: Thatchers – Somerset
Highly Commended: Armagh Cider Co. – County Armagh, Northern Ireland

Sweet Cider, Bottled (SG 1.015 and above)
Class 3 – 36 Entries

1st: Perry’s – Somerset
2nd: Old Grove – Herefordshire
3rd: West Milton – Dorset
Highly Commended: Berry Farm – Devon

Organic Cider, Bottled
Class 4 – 8 Entries

1st: Martin Soble – Herefordshire
2nd: Berry Farm – Devon
3rd: Martin Soble – Herefordshire

Bottled Cider, Taste and Presentation
Class 5 – 46 Entries

1st: Perry’s – Somerset
2nd: Orchard Pig – Somerset
3rd: Sheppy’s – Somerset
Very Highly Commended: Shepton Mallet Cider Mill – Somerset
Highly Commended: Oliver’s – Herefordshire
Highly Commended: Honey and Daughter – Somerset

Bottle Fermented Cider
Class 6 –  12 Entries

1st: Ashridge – Devon
2nd: Bollhayes – Devon
3rd: West Lake Orchards – Devon

Naturally Sweet, Bottle Conditioned Cider (keeved / arrested fermentation)
Class 7 – 9 Entries

1st: Barry Topp – Hampshire
2nd: West Milton – Dorset
3rd: Berry Farm – Devon

Single Variety Cider
Class 8 – 28 Entries
1st: Woodredding Farm – Herefordshire
2nd: Old Grove – Herefordshire
3rd: Perry’s – Somerset

Single Variety Apple Juice
Class 9 – 26 Entries
1st: Once Upon A Tree – Herefordshire
2nd: Glastonbury Abbey – Somerset
3rd: Ringi AS – Akershus, Norway
Highly Commended: Martin Soble – Herefordshire

Blended Apple Juice
Class 10 – 26 Entries

1st: Rich’s – Somerset
2nd: Armagh Cider Co. – County Armagh, Northern Ireland
3rd: Quiet Corner Farm – Somerset
Very Highly Commended: Ringi AS – Akershus, Norway
Highly Commended: Ashridge – Devon
Highly Commended: Lizzie Hecks – Somerset

Perry, Bottled
Class 11 – 23 Entries

1st: Andrew Hecks – Somerset
2nd: Barnes and Adams – Gloucestershire
3rd: Hogan’s – Warwickshire

Farmhouse Dry Cider (SG 1.008 or below)
Class 12 – 63 Entries

1st: Orchard’s – Gloucestershire
2nd: Berry Farm – Devon
3rd: Barnes and Adams – Gloucestershire

Farmhouse Medium Cider (SG 1.008 to 1.015)
Class 13 – 55 Entries
1st: Landshire Ciders – ?
2nd: Barnes and Adams – Gloucestershire
3rd: Bollhayes – Devon
Very Highly Commended: Nigel Cuff – Hampshire

Farmhouse Sweet Cider (SG 1.015 and above)
Class 14 – 36 Entries
1st: Nigel Cuff – Hampshire
2nd: Sheppy’s – Somerset
3rd: Green Valley – Devon
Very Highly Commended: Berry Farm – Devon

Cider, Bottled, Outside UK
Class 15 – 52 Entries
1st: Val de Rance – Brittany, France
2nd: Loic Raison – Brittany, France
3rd: Uncle John’s – Michigan, United States
Very Highly Commended: Sidra de Asturias [?] – Asturias, Spain
Highly Commended: Stonewell Cider – County Cork, Ireland

Perry, Bottled, Outside UK
Class 16 – 4 Entries
Very Highly Commended: Adam Bland – Lower Normandy, France
Highly Commended: Snowdrift – Washington, United States