Glastonbury Festival, Cornish pasties, cream teas, Bristol Balloon Fiesta, Stonehenge, Wallace and Gromit, the Eden Project, Cheddar cheese, Mary Berry…the list of goes on and on, but possibly the greatest gift the South West has given to our thirsty nation is the outrageously tasty cider it produces.
Yes, people, the South West is awash with the finest cider makers in the land, who’ll get the apples from the orchards and into your pint glasses faster than you can say, “the Wurzels!”
Here at StagWeb, we’ve been on a mission to sample the best ciders that grace this fine corner of the country and also find the in-cider scoop on the best cider makers about. So grab your glasses and get tasting, fellas! It’s time to get Scrumpy. “How about them apples!”
Cornish Cider Makers
You often hear stories of famous people who nearly went on to do other things before launching their successful careers, whether it be movie stars or footballers, and it’s a similar story with Andy Atkinson at Cornish Orchards. Andy started out as a dairy farmer in the ’90s, but quickly saw the error of his ways and swapped the milk for something a little stronger. Seventeen years on from his first delicious cider, they’re still going from strength to strength. Multi-award-winners, creators, innovators, his hardworking team continue to deliver the best of the best in Cornish ciders.
Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm
‘Healeys is more than just apples…’ And that’s certainly true. From whiskies and wines to juices and jams, Healeys boasts a veritable smorgasbord of taste-tantalising treats. But, for today, our focus is on their premier appley beverage which is taking the nation by storm. Their ‘cyder’ brand, Rattler, is now available in many supermarkets across the country, so you won’t even have to venture to the South West for a drop or two of their great product. Sometimes with mass production, you see a drop in quality, but that is certainly not the case here!
St Ives Cider
If you happen to be in the vibrant seaside town of St Ives, be sure to source a bottle or two of the brilliant St Ives Cider to enjoy as you watch the waves roll on in. They may be small, but they’re rubbing shoulders with the elite thanks to their big, bold flavours. They have three fantastic ciders available all year round, as well as a mulled cider which hits the shelves in the autumn. Trailblazing owner, David Berwick uses a combination of wine-making techniques with traditional cider methods to create some fantastic artisan creations. “Scrumptious!” (Get it?!).
Devon Cider Makers
Sandford Orchards have been raising the bar for cider standards since they burst onto the scene in 2002 and they continue to drop some of the most incredible flavours that have ever graced our apple-loving taste buds. What’s their secret? Well, they only use apples which are grown within thirty miles of their press, they leave out all the unnecessary artificial rubbish and they let their ciders sit for up to three years to cultivate an unrivalled flavour. Their passion, care and dedication shines through in every mouthful and we can only marvel at their genius.
Our South West cider hunt led us into the welcoming arms of Hunt’s Cider who have been dazzling Devon for over two-hundred years with their epic appley concoctions. If we had the time, we’d buy a truck and deliver it around the far-flung corners of the UK ourselves so that everybody could get their gobs around their delicious ciders, but, alas, we sadly don’t, so we’re using the power of the internet to spread the word instead. Plus, if we got our hands on some more of their product there’s a small massive chance that we’d just keep it all for ourselves. Yep, it’s that good!
Dorset Cider Makers
The guys at Twisted Cider are going toe-to-toe with the cider-making institutions and showing them how it should be done. This family-run business plucks their own ripe, juicy apples, washes them off in natural Dorset water and then we assumed they used some form of sorcery to turn them into their great ciders, but it turns out that they simply use their expert knowledge, fantastic recipes and unparalleled hard graft. Whilst there’s no wizardry on show, their ciders are a little bit magic and the guys behind it are well worthy of a spot in our Top Cider Makers in the South West 2019.
Cranborne Chase Cider
What started as a hobby back in 2011 has quickly snowballed into a bustling local business which shows no sign of stopping. Cranborne Chase Cider deliver grade A dry, medium and sweet beverages which hit the spot like only a locally manufactured cider can. With brewing on a smaller scale, the high-quality and consistency shines through with each batch. Take a trip to their cider shack and see for yourselves how they craft and create their brilliant beverages.
Never has a name been more reflective of a product; this isn’t just cider, this is liquid heaven, this is juice from the Gods, this is Dorset Nectar. This award-winning cider maker in the heart of Dorset has been crafting some of the tastiest ciders the county has ever seen and it’s spreading like wildfire. We’re here to fan the flames because their creations are just so damn delicious ,the world and his dog needs to know about these guys. First Dorset, then the UK, then the planet. Global Nectar really does have a special ring to it!
Gloucestershire Cider Makers
Beard and Sabre Cider Company
Everyone loves a good mashup and the guys at the Beard and Sabre Cider Company have created the ultimate flavour combo by blending the very best in British hops with their traditional ciders. Yes, people, the craft beer revolution has been taking the world by storm in recent years, but these guys are taking it to the next level with their incredible craft ciders and they’ve blown open a brand new avenue of taste exploration waiting to be discovered. Starting out in 2015, they’ve developed at an insane rate, turning heads as they go. Imagine what they’ll achieve in another four years!
Somerset Cider Makers
“Thatchers Gold (Gold), always believe in your soul. You’ve got the power to know. You’re indestructible, always believing…!” These guys need no introduction. It would have been remiss of us to omit one of the great British cider manufacturers from our list of the Best Cider Makers in the South West in 2019. What started off as one man’s vision has now turned into a worldwide institution and their fantastic ciders are now exported to over twenty different countries globally. Magnificent!
From cider making in a garden shed to one of the big hitters in the South West cider scene, Orchard Pig has come on leaps and trotters from its humble origins. They’ve rightfully got awards coming out of their triangular-shaped ears and they’re carving a name out for themselves as one of the best in the business. Whether it’s their draft creations or their canned concoctions, we implore you to pull up a stool and get your snouts around one of their fantastic beverages. When in Rome, do as the Romans do… When in the South West, grab a pint of Orchard Pig.
It’s a tricky business creating a phenomenal range of top-quality ciders, but the guys at Tricky Cider have somehow made it look like a doddle judging by how quickly they keep knocking out these incredible, flavour-packed drinks. All the cider is from orchards across the Somerset Levels, blending the best quality Somerset cider apples available to produce a range of traditional farmhouse ciders. The fruity ciders are made using elderflower picked from the farm, and rhubarb grown in local gardens. All fermented high on the Blackdown hills near Taunton. Tricky was founded in 2004 by Steve and Alaistair, and is still going strong fifteen years later with Matt Gillett now at the reins, and we have nothing but high praise for the magnificent people behind this epic creation.
“We’re a free-thinking craft cider company that doesn’t like being constrained.” We love their mantra, we love their ambition and, by God, we love their ciders. Not afraid to push the boundaries, Perry’s Cider goes above and beyond to forge, not just your standard range of ciders, but an eclectic mix of vintage and seasonal creations that keep us well and truly on our toes. They’ve very much hooked us in and we’re now constantly refreshing their page waiting for their next product to drop.
Somerset Cider Brandy
These apple crushing experts have been extracting heavenly cider droplets for over 200 years and have whittled the process down to a fine art. Whilst they have an excellent selection of vintage ciders on offer, their pièce de résistance is most definitely their sumptuous cider brandy which has been maturing in oak barrels for years until it’s absolutely ready. Their superb Somerset Cider Brandy is so good, in fact, it was the only spirit on offer at the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, then we don’t know what is. If it’s good enough for old Queen Lizzie, then it’s good enough for us!