Kingsley Ash of Thornborough Cider in North Yorkshire has received the very first Breakthrough Cider Maker Award from Barny Butterfield, Chief Cidermaker at Sandford Orchards.
The Breakthrough Cider Maker Award is a slingshot prize to a cider maker that the judges feel has the kind of promise, purpose and potential to go to the next level. The winners of these awards benefit from priceless help on the journey: mentoring, advice on strategy and branding, technical help with cider production and guaranteed listing in both on and off trade. This is an award with the kind of bankable bonus that doesn’t grow on trees.
The overall winner of the inaugural awards was Kingsley Ash from Thornborough Cider, based in the small village of Thornborough on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. Thornborough Cider make small batches of dry sparkling cider from a blend of locally-sourced apples using traditional techniques. Their cider has been featured on the menu of the county’s top restaurants including Vennell’s in Masham and Roots in York, as well as in farm shops and delis across the region.
The cider was sharp with a light bite and fantastic biscuity finish. Dry cider is harder to make well because sugar is so helpful at ironing out imperfections, so when dry cider is good, it’s brilliant! Kingsley Ash should feel rightly proud of his contribution to cider so far, and pretty excited about where he can take it.
Thornborough’s branding is really strong and elegant, and the business proposition behind it is sound and purposeful. We could also see plenty of opportunities to help Thornborough grow and improve and this is where the BCMA is invaluable.
Richard Yarnell from Mitchell’s and Butler’s was one of the judges on an expert panel which included Susy Atkins, drinks writer and broadcaster, Helen Thomas, managing director of Weston’s Cider and The Ciderologist, Gabe Cook. Prizes include: business strategy mentoring, a retail listing at Darts Farm, Devon, on-trade listing with a The Stable restaurant, £500 to spend on equipment and a technical visit to Weston’s cider to quiz the cider makers. The award will enable Thornborough Cider to expand their business and meet the rising demand for high quality cider in Yorkshire and across the UK.