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08th June, 2022

Three Somerset ciders have been voted as the best in their category by the almost 2,000 show-goers who took part in the People’s Choice feature in the Orchards and Cider marquee at the Royal Bath and West Show

The People’s Choice dry cider was Blackmore Vale Farmhouse Dry, produced by Alan Berry near Templecombe on the Somerset/Dorset border.

The People’s Choice medium cider was Tower Brue, produced by Oliver Dowding at Shepton Montague near Bruton.

The People’s Choice sweet cider was Southdown Cider sweet, produced by Rob Whale, also at Shepton Montague.

All three cider-makers were understandably delighted to have received this vote of confidence from their existing or potential customers.

Alan Berry of Blackmore Vale said:  “As a small family business making only 6 to 8 thousand litres per year, coming out on top as the People’s Choice dry cider rates as a great achievement for myself and my son Mark, especially as it is the general public who decide, not the judges.”

For Oliver Dowding, this was a second People’s Choice success, after winning the medium category last year.  He said:  “We are humbled to have won for a second year, as we are acutely aware of how tough the competition is.  We would like to thank the Bath and West for giving smaller producers such as ourselves this opportunity

The People’s Choice is the award that means the most to us as it is judged by the people we make cider for.”

And for Rob Whale, winning the People’s Choice sweet rounded off a very successful show:  “We were thrilled to win the People’s Choice for sweet cider at our first attempt! It goes to highlight the high quality and standards we strive to achieve at Southdown Cider. We welcome people to come and try it for themselves!”

The three categories of ciders were judged on each of the three days of the show: drys on Thursday, Mediums on Friday and sweets on Saturday, with the public being offered six

prize-winning ciders to choose from, and invited to vote for their favourite. Almost 2,000 people took part, making it the best supported ‘People’s Choice’ since the feature was introduced to Orchards and Cider in 2014.

“Quite apart from the sheer number of people taking part, what was really encouraging was the amount of interest that they showed in all of the ciders, and the care which so many of them took in making their choice”, said Orchards and Cider Chairman, Anthony Gibson.

“A key part of our mission at Orchards and Cider is to raise awareness of the huge range of top quality artisan and traditional ciders produced across the country, and the People’s Choice is one of the very best ways of achieving that.”

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