International Cider Challenge 2013 results

19 June, 2013

A private dining room with large sash windows that sits above the White Horse pub in west London has become a microcosm for the global cider industry in recent years.

Until 2010, cider was an afterthought, tagged on to the end of the International Beer Challenge.

But in recent years its popularity has exploded – fuelled by the Magners over-ice revolution and heavy marketing investment from emerging brands – and the shelf space it is afforded has shot up.

Four years ago the decision was taken to make the International Cider Challenge a competition in its own right and judges tasted 100 of the best ciders the world had to offer.

Every year the standard has improved, as producers invest more and more in a category that has broken beer’s stranglehold on the market, and the number of entries has steadily risen.

This year judges were dazzled by the consistent quality of the 149 entries we received.

Many came from cider’s spiritual home, the West Country, and persistent pretenders to the throne, Ireland and France, but entries also arrived from as far afield as Australia, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden.

The blind tasting judging panel was made up of independent retailers, supermarket buyers, producers, flavour experts and journalists, and the high-ceilinged room above the Victorian pub became a hive of activity as they pushed their palates to the limit to tease out the greatest ciders in the world. 

International Cider Challenge 2013

“The standard has really gone up since last year and I was impressed by the consistent quality of the ciders,” said Louise Smith, owner of The Jug and Bottle in Yorkshire.

Last year a solitary gold medal was handed out, to Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference French sparkling cider, along with 11 silvers.

This time around, the equally demanding judges gave out 13 golds and 30 silvers.

The West Country was upstaged by France as Cidre Bigoud’s Artisanal Le Brun Organic, and La Face Cachee De La Pomme’s Neige Premiere 2010 joined Danish supplier Cold Hand Winery’s Malus X in winning trophies for ciders of exceptional quality.

But traditional producers enjoyed a good showing in the gold medal category, notably Westons picking up golds for its Wyld Wood organic cider and the English vintage cider it produces for Sainsbury’s.

For the first time a fruit cider – Rekorderlig strawberry-lime – scooped a gold, reflecting the phenomenal improvement the category has seen since it became one of the fastest-growing markets in the UK off-trade.

Gareth Roots, cider buyer at Sainsbury’s, said: “It’s amazing the amount of variants there are of fruit cider. There are really good ones now. There’s innovation in fruit cider and Rekorderlig has done well. There are so many flavours and it’s still in its infancy.”

Oliver W, Waitrose buyer, added: “Some of the super-premium and organic ciders were outstanding.

“It’s great to have such a strong mix of people judging things – all bases were covered. It was a great opportunity to try the whole spectrum of ciders.”

Rosie Norwood, owner of Favourite Beers in Cheltenham, joined the panel for her first-ever competition after scooping Independent Cider Retailer at the Drinks Retailing Awards 2013.

She said: “There were some outstanding ciders. I tasted many that I would like to add to our range.”

The judges agreed that cider sales will pick up now that the spring’s bad weather is behind us, and that the quality of the bottles on shelves will improve as the market grows and becomes increasingly competitive.

Next year the challenge will celebrate its fifth anniversary, and we can rest assured that cider producers from Sweden to Somerset are fighting tooth and nail to impress our exacting panel of industry legends, opinion-formers and leading retailers with another round of sensational ciders.

Full list of winners:

Trophy:

Cidre Bigoud

Cidre Artisanal Le Brun Organic

Cold Hand Winery

Malus X - Feminam

La Face Cachee De La Pomme

Neige Premiere 2010, Apple Ice Wine

Gold:

Bulmer Harvest Ltd

Scrumpy Apple

Chilli Marketing

Rekordeling Apple Cider

Chilli Marketing

Rekordeling Strawberry - Lime Cider

Dunkertons Cider Co

Dunkertons Black Fox

Dunkertons Cider Co

Dunkertons Premium

Fynsbury's Rutland Cider

Fynsbury's Rutland Cider (Still)

Les Celliers Associes

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference

Sheppys Cider Ltd

Oak Matured Vintage

Westons Cider

Sainsbury's English Vintage Cider

Westons Cider

Wyld Wood Organic Cider

Silver:

Aspall

2012 Vintage Imperial Cyder

Aspall

Organic Suffolk Cyder

Biddenden Vineyards

Biddenden Sparkling Cider

Brands Direct

Devon Farmhouse Cider

Brands Direct

Hazerdine Orchard Herefordshire Vintage Cider

C.U.B. (Carlton United Breweries Ltd)

Bulmers Original

C.U.B. (Carlton United Breweries Ltd)

Dirty Granny

C.U.B. (Carlton United Breweries Ltd)

Strongbow Raspberry and Strawberry

Cidre Bigoud

Cidre Fermier or et Ange

Cold Hand Winery

Malus Danica

Cold Hand Winery

Malus X - Masculine

County Cider Company

Waupoos Premium Cider

Ets Guillet Freres

Kerisac Cuvee Special - Brut

Ets Guillet Freres

Kerisac Cuvee Special -Doux

Ets Guillet Freres

Kerisac Poire

Healey's Cider

Healey's Classic Rum Reserved

Henney's Cider Co

Henney's Dry Cider

Hogan's Cider Ltd

Hogan's Medium Cider

Hogan's Cider Ltd

Hogan's Vintage Perry 2010

Les Celliers Associes

Val de Rance Cidre Traditionnel Brut

McCashins Brewery

Rochdale Traditional Apple

McCashins Brewery

Saxton Apple Cider

Orchard Pig

Truffler

Sandford Orchards

Devon Red

SHS Drinks

Merrydown Vintage Cider + Black

SHS Drinks

Merrydown Vintage Medium

The Cooperative Food

Tillington Hills Premium Cider

Waitrose

Waitrose Herefordshire Cider

Westons Cider

Asda Extra Special Vintage

Westons Cider

Henry Westons Vintage

Westons Cider

Old Rosie

Bronze:

Ampleforth Abbey

Ampleforth Abbey Cider

Ampleforth Abbey

Ampleforth Abbey Premium Cider

Armagh Cider Company

Carsons Crisp Cider

Armagh Cider Company

Maddens - Orchard Bramble

Aspall

Cuvee Chevallier

Aspall

Pipsqueak Best Cider

Aspall

Premier Cru Suffolk Cyder

Aspall

Taste the Difference Elderflower Cyder

Aspall

Taste the Difference Suffolk Cyder

Bulmer Harvest Ltd

Harvest Apple

Bulmer Harvest Ltd

Harvest Pear

C.U.B. (Carlton United Breweries Ltd)

Bulmers Ginger

C.U.B. (Carlton United Breweries Ltd)

Bulmers Pear

C.U.B. (Carlton United Breweries Ltd)

Mercury Draught

C.U.B. (Carlton United Breweries Ltd)

Strongbow Clear

C.U.B. (Carlton United Breweries Ltd)

Strongbow Mango and Passionfruit

C.U.B. (Carlton United Breweries Ltd)

Strongbow Original

C.U.B. (Carlton United Breweries Ltd)

Strongbow Pear

C.U.B. (Carlton United Breweries Ltd)

Strongbow Strawberry and Kiwi

CCLF

Ecusson Cidre Rose

Chilli Marketing

Rekordeling Passionfruit Cider

Chilli Marketing

Rekordeling Pear Cider

Chilli Marketing

Rekordeling Winter Cider

Cidre Bigoud

Cidre Artisanal Le Brun Brut

Cidre Bigoud

Cidre Artisanal Le Brun DemiSec

Cidre Bigoud

Cidre Artisanal Le Brun Doux

Cold Hand Winery

Malus Unica

CSR

Cidraie

Elixir Signature Pty Ltd

Apple Head

Elixir Signature Pty Ltd

Apple Head

Fynsbury's Rutland Cider

Fynsbury's Rutland Cider (Naturally Sparkling)

Healey's Cider

Healey's Classic Oak - Matured

Healey's Cider

Rattler Original

Les Celliers Associes

Bolee Celte Brut

Lidl

Churchwards Original Cider

Lidl

Churchwards Pear Cider

Lidl

Woodgate Dry Amber Cider

Lidl

Woodgate Dry Amber Cider

Lidl

Woodgate Pear Cider

Lidl

Woodgate Pear Cider

McCashins Brewery

Rochdale Ginger Lime Cider

McCashins Brewery

Rochdale Perry Cider

McCashins Brewery

Saxton Pear Cider

Orchard Pig

Charmer

Real Ale Ltd

M&S Breton Cider

Redwood Cider Co

Old Mout Boysen Cider

Redwood Cider Co

Old Mout Cranberry & Cider

Sandford Orchards

Fanny's Bramble

Sheppys Cider Ltd

Kingston Black

Thatchers Cider Co

Tesco Finest Single Orchard

Thatchers Cider Co

Thatchers Gold

Thatchers Cider Co

Thatchers Katy

Thatchers Cider Co

Thatchers Mixed Fruit

Thatchers Cider Co

Thatchers Pear

Thatchers Cider Co

Thatchers Prince William

Thatchers Cider Co

Thatchers Vintage 2011

VOK Beverages

Three Oaks Cider Dry

VOK Beverages

Three Oaks Cider Original

VOK Beverages

Three Oaks Cider Sweet

Waitrose

Waitrose Cidre de Normandie

Westons Cider

Henry Westons

Westons Cider

Henry Westons Vintage Perry

Westons Cider

Sainsbury's Low Alcohol English Cider

Shoppers first enticed to cider by the likes of Magners are becoming increasingly experimental and producers’ NPD departments have gone into overdrive in an effort to keep up.

This has led to shelves packed with an overwhelming range of bottles and cans from around the world, meaning design and packaging is now more important than ever to capture a busy shopper’s imagination.

Our expert panel of judges felt suppliers truly went the extra mile this year and handed out four gold medals, eight silvers and 11 bronze awards.

Those that scooped the top award featured bold, elegant and eye-catching packaging that clearly communicated the message behind the brand. 

Judges agreed the overall standard had greatly improved, as leading producers continued to innovate and smaller suppliers invested in order to compete, pointing to a healthy future for cider.

Design and packaging winners:

Gold

Cold Hand Winery

Malus Danica

Ampleforth Abbey

Ampleforth Abbey Premium Cider

B1 - Marct D.O.O

Big Shot

Aspall

Harry Sparrow Cyder

 Silver:

McCashins Brewery

Rochdale Traditional Apple

Cold Hand Winery

Malus X - Feminam

County Cider Company

A Tortured Path Cider

Thatchers Cider Co.

Thatchers Mixed Fruit

Cidre Bigoud

Cidre or et Ange

Sheppys Cider Ltd

Oak Matured Vintage

Waitrose

Waitrose Herefordshire Cider

Waitrose

Waitrose Cidre de Normandie

Bronze:

McCashins Brewery

Saxton Apple Cider

Thatchers Cider Co.

Thatchers Vintage 2011

Hogan's Cider Ltd

Hogan's Medium Cider

Cold Hand Winery

Malus Unica

Sandford Orchards

Devon Red

Dunkertons Cider Co

Dunkertons Black Fox

Chilli Marketing

Rekordeling Passionfruit Cider

Elixir Signature Pty Ltd

Apple Head

Elixir Signature Pty Ltd

Apple Head

Hogan's Cider Ltd

Hogan's Vintage Perry 2010

Healey's Cider

Rattler Original




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