Congratulations to Nick Poole of West Milton Cider Company near Bridport, whose medium cider has just been crowned Champion in the annual competition of the South West of England Cidermakers’ Association (SWECA).
The judges were Anthony Gibson (former NFU SW regional director and now president of the Bath & West cider committee) and the cider scientist and author Andrew Lea.
Needless to say, Nick is very pleased – but he was even more pleased that for the first time ever members of SWECA met in Dorset. About 60 makers from across the Westcountry met last night at The Stable in Bridport.
Nick says: “This recognises the fact that Dorset is now well and truly on the cider map.”
Fifteen years ago the situation was very different, with only a handful of Dorset makers left, primarily in Chideock, Symondsbury, Netherbury, and Shave Cross.
But after Nick began the West Milton Cider Club – and, on the back of that, the Powerstock Cider Festival – there’s been a tremendous resurgence.
This year’s Powerstock Cider Festival on Saturday, 25 April in Powerstock Hut should feature ciders from nearly 30 different makers. Tickets are available from the usual places: Frosts in Bridport, Bridport TIC, The Marquis of Lorne in Nettlecombe, The Three Horseshoes in Powerstock. Cost £6.
Nick was also keen to pay tribute to The Stable. He said: “I know they latched on to what we were already doing, but they’ve created a huge wave in the cider-drinking world, with all their outlets now throughout the South West and it’s growing, and they should be quite pleased that partly through their influence, and partly because there’s now more cider makers in Dorset, that this quite important meeting has come to Bridport.”