A HEREFORDSHIRE cider team have plenty of reasons to look pleased with themselves this month, having made more cider than ever before and winning a prized award.

Tommy the Gypsy Cob from Llanigon, and other members of the Fair Oak Cider team have just milled the last load of a record harvest of cider apples, making more cider than ever this year. It is all now bubbling away nicely in the cider house.

They have also just heard the news that Bacton-based Fair Oak’s Medium still cider beat all (but one) of the competition at CAMRA’s Beer on the Wye festival in July this year.

The news came when CAMRA’s magazine, the Hereford Hopvine, resumed publishing this month after two years’ absence.

More than 130 cider and perry makers took part in the festival, where Fair Oak came second in the cider category to Gwatkins of Abbey Dore.


Hilary Engel said: “We don’t mind losing to Dennis: he’s our neighbour and good friend, and his cider wins a lot of prizes.”

Another reason why this year’s cider making has been special at Fair Oak is that several Ukrainian families who are staying nearby have joined in to help.

Vitalii Levytskyi, from Odessa, who is living in Longtown with his wife and three young children, said he wanted to learn all about making cider, and has helped out with the whole process from harvesting to pressing.

He said: “The Fair Oak cider makers have made me very welcome, and my family liked watching the horse working the mill.”

Want to stay up to date with all the latest news for your local area? It's easy, just sign up for our weekly email newsletter here and all the important stories that matter to you will be delivered straight to your inbox.