Here at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival not only is there the largest collection of ciders and perries in the North of England, but there is also the largest collection of ciders and perries made in the north of England all together.
15 makers, 5 counties, 28 ciders, 3 perries. These ciders and perries are amongst a line up of just over 100 from all over the country.
These Northerly producers are represented specifically because The Manchester Beer and Cider Festival hosts the North of England Cider and Perry Competition each year, bringing together makers from Cheshire, Yorkshire, Manchester, Lancashire, Northumberland, Durham, Merseyside, and Cumbria.
The north may not be a hotbed for cider production but it does have a rich history and there are makers who have been busily turning Northern apples into Northern cider for over a decade, Ampleforth Abbey and ‘Udders Orchard of Yorkshire to name but two. But since then the numbers of producers has gone up and up.
The Moss Cider project started in 2010 and Dunham Press made their first cider in 2012. Others have utilised local dessert and cooking fruit, collected from gardens and hedgerows, others have transported cider apples from the South West, and some have even planted their own cider orchards here in the North.
The competition itself has grown from strength to strength. In 2011 there was just a CAMRA Yorkshire Cider Competition in the North (‘Udders Orchard winning that with their Whisky Cask). Since then it expanded into a North UK competition, taking in Northern England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and The Isle of Man. Due to the viability of competitions in the outliers, for the last two years it’s just been just for The North of England.
Recent winners have been Hedgehoggers of Scarborough, SiDa of Macclesfield, and La Cantina of Elland, West Yorkshire. The competition judges ciders and perries which are predominantly made of fresh-pressed apple and/or pear juice. There are no other flavourings allowed. Good luck to all this year’s entrants.