Sometimes things happen which are a complete surprise and a total delight and pleasure. At the Royal Bath and West show this year i was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Gold Medal by the The Royal Bath and West of England Society.

“For my heart led commitment to cider and perry making, championing the artisan and traditional and as a great experimenter. My commitment to the taste superiority of high juice ciders and perries, support for planting orchards of varieties for quality cider and perry making and the understanding that innovation is key to my past and future as a cider maker”.

I want to thank everyone involved in that decision, i know not who you are, but the lengths that you went to to, to get my family there for the presentation made my day. Thank you especially Bob Chaplin for your kind words and my (old) friends Keith and Michelle Orchard for their logistical skills.

As luck would have it friend and fellow cider maker Ryan Burk , now working with Angry Orchard , and Eva were there too, as were Sam Fitz and Cooper from ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar to be DC’s First Cidery . Some of the best and most interesting ciders that i have tasted recently have come from both East of the UK and West in the North Americas. The leading, esteemed position the UK  has garnered over the years is about to become challenged by an exploding industry. Once native and heirloom varieties are evaluated and the plantings of imported cider varieties bear fruit in volume, i think we may be sharing honours, at best!

Many,many years ago (back in the last century) Peter Mitchell of  Mitchell F&D Ltd said to me that you will need to make the very best you can and sell it at the highest price possible, to be viable in the modern era, well i am not there yet but i am still trying and it was always about the journey for me.  My head will always be ruled by my heart. And that has some harsh repercussions for me as i struggle to make Oliver’s a financially successful business, rather than (barely) viable. Game on.

One request that emerged from the whole day at The Royal Bath and West Show was to keep spreading the word about The Royal Bath and West Show and specifically  The Orchards and Cider Marquee and the British Cider Championships and  that will always be a pleasure.