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27th March 2023

CraftCon 2023 fosters British Craft Cider Renaissance

Representatives from the UK’s leading cideries will be joining pommeliers, 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 in Cirencester, April 13th & 14th.

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 limited 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.”

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.

Barny Butterfield, founder of Sandford Orchards, above, one of the UK’s most successful craft cider producers, will detail the rise of his company in the opening keynote, From Chickens To Cider. 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.”

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 (below), will reveal the hows and whys of keg-conditioned cider, while James Forbes and Laurence Cocking, Little Pomona Orchard & Cidery, will lead a tasting exploring the terroir of Herefordshire via the lens of Dabinett.

Further highlights include:

  • The UK’s leading cider writer, 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, landlady at CAMRA’s National Cider & Perry Pub of the Year 2022, 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 (pictured below), 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, Artistraw Cider, 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.

A limited number of media places are available.
For further information, images, interviews, or to apply for a media place, please contact Albert Johnson.

Further information available on the TCCPA’s dedicated CraftCon website.

Follow the action via Social Media, on twitter, facebook & instagram.

Notes to Editors:
With other 130 members, the Three Counties Cider & Perry Association is the largest grouping of cidermakers in the UK. Its membership extends beyond the borders of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, and is open to cidermakers large and small and any others with an interest in the cider world. Its remit centres around supporting the interests of cider and perrymakers via several means, including that of education and training.


The National Association of Cidermakers supports the UK cider industry and ensure that their voice is heard. Representing all cider makers, large or small, national, regional or local, ensuring that the industry is treated fairly and the government understands the issues and priorities faced by cider makers and cider apple growers. We provide support on technical issues, research apple growing and promoting the importance of cider making to our rural communities.

VIGO Ltd supply cider and perry producers with carefully chosen processing and packaging equipment from renowned manufacturers.  All their equipment is supported and backed up by their team of 6 engineers and 2 apprentice engineers.  They hold spares; they service and repair; and they have a dedicated technical support line for peace of mind.

Enartis is an international network of people that has made the relationship with the protagonists of the wine market the key to its success and that of its customers. The direct presence in the main wine countries of the five continents widens the vision of what happens in the market and allows real-time transfer of information and knowledge available to Enartis customers.

Core Equipment is a supplier of innovative cider and juice production equipment to UK cider producers. Providing everything from pumps to presses, from carbonators to canning machines, all is built with the cider producer in mind. Its teams ensure that every piece of equipment installed arrives on time, in perfect condition, and that the installation goes ahead seamlessly.

The Licensing Guys

Murphy & Son Ltd are a long-established provider of brewing supplies and technical expertise to the brewing and broader beverage industry, built on over a hundred years research into reliable solutions for bespoke beverage challenges. Specialising in liquor treatments and processing aids but also boasting all the ingredients, refinements, cleaning materials and manual handling equipment needed.

📸 Bill Bradshaw; Terry Richards – with thanks.

Press release from Little Pomona.

For further information, images, interviews, or to apply for a media place, please contact Albert Johnson.