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CraftCon 2023 is imminent!

There’s always an exception that proves a rule, and today we’re making ours. We’re not really a site that shares press releases – and as far as commercial producers go that will always remain the case.

However the return of CraftCon – the UK’s marvellous convention for all things cider (and perry!) is news that we can all get behind at CR, sharing as we do their mission to promote, discuss and educate on the growing aspirational cider and perry scene. So we’re only too happy to spread the word.

Indeed we’re thrilled to say that we’re taking part this year – Adam will be talking about the European perry scene, and tasting marvellous things to boot, and Helen of Burum collective, who has made marvellous contributions here in the past, will be dissecting the term ‘tradition’ with Rachel Hendry.

The show takes place on 13-14 April at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester. Tickets are still available, and past experience suggests that this will be the most thought provoking and enlightening couple of days in the aspirational cider calendar. Get yours via the link at the bottom straight away. Over to you, CraftCon…


Representatives from the UK’s leading cideries will be joiningpommeliers, publicans and orchardists for CraftCon 2023 in mid-April, the only UK interactive conference dedicated to the art and skill of craft cidermaking.

Encompassing tastings, panel discussions, the famous bottle share as well as over a dozen sessions, the gathering takes place at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, April 13-14.

Organised by the Three Counties Cider & Perry Association, “Our plan is to inspire, educate and entertain with the latest ideas and industry experts,” says Dave Sanders, chair of the TCCPA.

Targeted at producers new and not-so-new, those beginning their journey and those wanting to top up their skill set, tickets are available, including day passes, and a number of media spaces.

Despite the challenges facing the UK drinks industry, craft cider is an industry which has grown consistently year on year. In August this year, huge changes to the UK duty system could mean a revolution in cidermaking, with optimism that the proposed Small Makers’ Duty Relief scheme could boost the cider industry in the same way that Small Brewers Relief did when it was introduced in 2008. 

“Crucial to the development of this nascent but growing segment of this cider category is the opportunity to learn and to exchange knowledge and expertise,” says acknowledged expert, Gabe Cook, aka The Ciderologist. “Also critical is growing a community of people who are all contributing to and celebrating a sustainable industry, a sustainable drink. One with deep roots and a wonderful community feel.”

Barny Butterfield, founder of Sandford Orchards, one of the UK’s most successful craft cider producers, will detail the rise of his company in his opening keynote speech, From Chickens ToCider. Meanwhile Cook will look to the next decade in his keynote on the second day. “In a time of unprecedented challenge and change for the UK drinks industry, what is the state of play for cider now and what are the opportunities and challenges for its future?” says Cook. “I’ll be navigating these big questions for cider makers large and small, using data, insight and passion.”

Topics to be discussed include everything from the world of perry and climate change, sustainability, the importance of diversity, duty reform and expanding your market. 

Technical essentials include the prevention of faults and unlocking the power of yeast, while cutting edge techniques and ideas will be explored by some of the nation’s leading proponents. Albert Johnson, fourth generation cidermaker at Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry, will reveal the hows and whys of keg-conditioned cider, while James Forbes and Laurence Cocking, Little Pomona Orchard & Cider, will lead a tasting exploring the terroir of Herefordshire via the lens of Dabinett.

Further highlights include:

• Adam Wells of Cider Review, investigating the benefits of internationally joined-up perry thinking as he looks beyond May Hill at the great perry regions of continental Europe, their history, varieties, styles, culture and their place in a broader gastronomic culture.

• Pommelier Alison Taffs, CAMRA’s National Cider & Perry Pub of the Year 2022 winner at The Hop Inn pub in Hornchurch, will present a session educating cidermakers on how to ensure they are enabling the best craft cider possible to be served in all Britain’s pubs. 

• Reaching – and broadening – your market remains vital. Cider Women, the pan-industry group formed in the wake of the first CraftCon in 2019, will explore exactly how to expand your horizons, through inclusivity, community involvement and empowerment.

• The popular Cider Doctors lunch-time sessions return, with informal but informed analysis of ciders available to all delegates.

• Finally, the forthcoming duty overhaul comes under the microscope. TCCPA treasurer Tom Tibbits, ArtistrawCider, will be in the chair for this essential Q&A, with the welcome return of Barry Watts, head of public affairs & policy, SIBA.

The conference is being generously supported by lead sponsor, The National Association of Cidermakers, as well as key suppliers to and supporters of the cider industry, Vigo Ltd, Enartis, Core Equipment, The Licensing Guys, and Murphy & Son.  

Further information available on the TCCPA’s dedicated CraftCon website

Follow TCCPA on instagramtwitter & facebook.

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In addition to my writing and editing with Cider Review I lead frequent talks and tastings and contribute to other drinks sites and magazines including jancisrobinson.com, Pellicle, Full Juice, Distilled and Burum Collective. @adamhwells on Instagram, @Adam_HWells on twitter.

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