Meet the GBPA nominees: Best Cider Bar/Pub

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Great British pub awards 2017: The winners will be revealed at the Hilton on Park Lane on 7 Setpember
Great British pub awards 2017: The winners will be revealed at the Hilton on Park Lane on 7 Setpember
Next up in our previews of each of the 100+ finalists in this year’s John Smith’s Great British Pub Awards is the Best Cider Bar/Pub category.

You can check out the finalists for Best Beer Bar/Pub here​.

Chaplin’s & the Cellar Bar, Bournemouth

With one of the regulars also being one of the pub’s main suppliers of cider, it’s safe to say this is a pub that knows what it’s doing when it comes to handling fermented apples! There is a strong emphasis on stocking local products, with Dorset Sunshine scrumpy cider and a new strawberry variant proving a huge hit with customers. As well as stocking a good selection of mainstream brands and local products, the pub is also working with local producers to create their own bespoke and exclusive cider blends for the venue.

Staff are well educated and trained on the products and have even gone on trips to nearby cider producers where, as well as being taught about the cider-making process, they were given the opportunity to try their hands at producing their own ciders.

The Crown Inn at Woolhope, Hereford

A previous winner of the title of Cider Pub of the Year in 2015, the Crown Inn at Woolhope is
a great operation which has firmly embraced the opportunity that having a great cider offer can bring.

With strong connections in the cider business and being near the heart of cider-making country, licensee Matt Slocombe does not only rely on having a great range from outside suppliers – he rolls up his sleeves and makes his own! Introducing the pub’s own cider range just over four years ago has proven a big hit with customers, drawing people in from miles around. Matt even got customers involved by supplying him with their own fruit.

A strong connection to the surrounding area and community, along with a dedication to seasonal and local sourcing completes the offer at this peach of a pub.

The Frothblowers, Peterborough

Keen pricing has seen this pub storm ahead when it comes to cider sales, as well as emphasis on sampling the varied range available – all of which has led to cider making up a healthy 40% of the pub’s wet turnover.

A relatively new set up, the pub has already built a strong trade around a cider offer that gives customers a strong choice of both local and national products. The operators travel to different areas every five to six weeks to meet up with and purchase product from local producers in Somerset, Nottinghamshire and even into Norfolk.

Cider is given as much prominence as real ale in this freehouse operation, with cider and ale boards sitting side by side. Strong training also plays an important role in the business and staff are encouraged to sample and get to know the varied cider products coming through
the pub.

The Harlequin, Sheffield

With a great range of keg, bag-in-box and bottled ciders, The Harlequin is not only proving a strong hit with the after-work crowd, but also with nearby workers on their lunch breaks. It has been at the vanguard of driving demand back towards cider in Sheffield since 2010.

This is a pub with a constantly evolving cider offer. While it features a range of 14 bag-in-box ciders and perries at any one time, only one of those is permanent – Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon. As well as being constantly on the lookout for new bag-in-box suppliers, the pub also operates guest keg lines which allows them to experiment with new and unusual products. A low turnover in staff has also helped the business, with staff knowledge of the product range strong and customer service high.

The Star Inn, Godalming, Surrey

With an ambition to make the Star Inn a destination venue for cider lovers, this is a pub clearly putting its cards on the table. Already generating word-of-mouth excitement around its cider offer, with multiple regional awards pouring in from CAMRA, the business is keen to add a national title to its haul.

The pub’s operators have more than 50 years’ experience of selling cider between them, and recently invested in improving cellar operations to offer even greater cider choice.

The introduction of the Stable Cider Bar has further helped to boost cider sales and it has quickly become a popular highlight and draw for the pub.

In total the business offers more than 60 ciders and, while sourcing from around the UK, has built a strong relationship with Middle Farm in East Sussex, which produces a good range of “real” ciders, perries and fruit ciders.

The Stable, Bristol

This is a business that describes cider as being in its bones. Having opened its doors in 2009, it set out on its mission to “create a cathedral to God’s own drink and invite the world
to worship with us”.

And worship they did! With more than 60 different ciders and perries for visitors to try, there is certainly plenty of choice. And for those who are struggling to get to grips with the range, the pub employs a crew of expert Cider Masters to help guide new entrants into the world of cider.

A refurbishment earlier this year has given the business a further boost, and helped create increased drinking space within the site. It has also enabled them to make some cellar upgrades to further improve the product experience for visitors.

Tickets for the Great British Pub Awards can be bought by phoning 01293 846508. For more information about the event visit its dedicated website.

Related topics: Cider, Entertainment

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