For a number of years I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a judge at wine competitions. Additionally, I’ve served as a judge of cider. Whenever at a wine competition, I always encourage the competition organizers to work toward including a cider category. I do this because I believe competitions not only serve to help publicize the continually increasing number of fine ciders in the market and help promote cider in general, but it also gives the judges, who are often influential people in the beverage world, a chance to delve deeper into the variety of cider in the market.
For these reason, I was very happy to learn that The Good Food Awards, now in its sixth year, has added a cider category. In the past, The Good Food Awards encouraged cidermakers to enter their products, but they fell into the beer category. Not any more.
The Good Food Awards is also distinguished by the fact that it seeks to honor foods, and ciders, that focus on minimal intervention during production and on authentic ingredients. In fact The Good Food Awards pay attention to cideries that:
• Seeks out ingredients that are grown or produced with practices that promote resource conservation and minimize synthetic inputs, including pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
• Seeks out fruit and other ingredients that are grown locally and with respect to seasonality as a top priority.
• Does not use artificial flavorings.
• Does not use concentrates as a primary source of sugar for fermentation.
• Seeks to know their suppliers and customers in order to support and promote sustainability
Cider competitions have played an important role in drawing attention to conscientious cider makers and to the best ciders in the market. And cideries have embraced these competitions too as a way to find ways to promote their own efforts. At this years granddaddy of cider competitions, the Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Association Competition, 480 separate ciders were entered. SEE THE RESULTS HERE.
The Pacific North West Cider Awards also an important competition for cideries located in Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Idaho and Montana. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST ROUND OF AWARD-WINNING CIDERS.
Other competitions that include cider occur around the globe and also here in the U.S.—though usually associated with beer competitions.
However, the real winner where competitions are concerned are consumers who are looking to broaden their horizons where cider is concerned. The list of award-winning ciders will almost always include names consumers have never heard of and new ciders that consumers can then seek out.