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17th July 2023

Sandford Orchards’ The General wins gold & category trophy at the International Cider Challenge

Independent, family-owned Sandford Orchards has just scooped a host of accolades at the 2023 International Cider Challenge. These include a gold medal and the category trophy for its vintage cider, The General, making it officially the best tannin led cider in the world.

Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker at Sandford Orchards comments: “We are over the moon to have our ciders recognised at such a prestigious competition which judged a huge range of ciders from more than 20 different countries across the globe. At 8.4%, The General is the Godfather of our vintage ciders, aged for a minimum of 6 months in our ancient oak vat. It has already won gold at The World Cider Awards in 2021 so winning another gold and then the category trophy has confirmed that the cider experts really think this is a very special drink.”

Barny continues: “The icing on the cake is the fact that we won the same Tannin Led category trophy last year, with our Sandford Reserve, so we are retaining our status as reigning category champions. We fought off stiff competition from more than 20 ciders from 5 different countries to win the trophy for the second time in a row. The judges tried ciders from all over the world and then returned to award the prize to the cider that was made in a vat 6 feet away from the cider that won last year! This is something that no other cidermaker has ever achieved, so we are incredibly proud.”

The General – Mighty Vat-Aged Cider (ABV 8.4%)

The General is the Imperial Stout of Sandford Orchards’ vintage range. This super rich cider is bold and satisfying with the flavours of Seville orange, plum and baked apple. It is rich and rewarding with a long finish and is a superb complement to gamey meats or a fully-laden Sunday roast.

The judges said: “The General is bright and pleasing with a great bittersweet flavour with dried fruit and hints of spice, married with toffee apple. Good clean tannin interlaced with balancing acid and a wonderful textural quality, this is a fantastic cider!”

Now in its 13th year, The International Cider Challenge is the most authoritative, respected and influential cider competition in the world. The International Cider Challenge is founded on a rigorous and independent judging process, which serves to reward and celebrate the diversity and range of styles of international cider. Ciders entered into the tasting categories are blind tasted by an expert panel of independent judges and assessed according to their taste, appearance and aroma.

Founded in 2002, independent, family-owned Sandford Orchards is based in Crediton, Mid Devon in the oldest working cider mill in the UK. The area has long been known as one of the most fertile parishes in all of Britain, both for its grazing and ability to grow apples. Crediton sits in the lee of the moors, so receives the right amount of rain and the right units of heat in summer.

Sandford Orchards takes a fresh, natural and low impact approach to producing cider. Combining tradition and innovation, Sandford Orchards produces an award-winning range of core session, traditional, fine and fruit ciders.

For further information on Sandford Orchards please visit, follow Sandford Orchards on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Image available here and here.

-Editor’s Notes-

Sandford Orchards takes a low impact approach to producing cider:

  • Their orchards act as carbon sinks, promote soil health and support biodiversity
  • Their apples are all grown in a 20 mile radius of the cider works
  • Their by-products are bio-converted locally into natural green gas and CO2, which is used to carbonate their ciders
  • They use locally coppiced regenerating woodlands for fuel for heating water and have installed solar panels which produce 25% of their required electricity
  • They are working towards having all their company vehicles charged by renewable power
  • They use natural lighting, rainwater harvested from their roofs and insulation to reduce their energy requirements
  • Their cider is produced using filtration and cold sterilisation and without the need for boiling ingredients

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