Wales Hosts World's First International Craft Cider Festival

The first ever International Craft Cider Festival took place at Llancaiach Fawr manor house near Caerphilly in the South Wales Valleys last weekend, with a successful blend of cider and perry, great live music and master classes and demonstrations based on the art of making cider attracting an audience from across the UK.

Cider makers from across Europe, particularly the Hesse region of Germany, Asturias in Spain, Brittany and Normandy in France, gathered to sell their produce and compare notes with their counterparts from Wales, the West Country and elsewhere in the UK.

The festival was staged by the Welsh Perry and Cider Society. The Society's Development Officer, Cressida Slater said: "We were very pleased with the first year of what we hope will become an annual premium food and drink event for Wales, offering some of the best drinks of their kind in the world. The atmosphere was great, and the feedback we had from a number of visitors to the area and from the cider producers has been extremely encouraging, reflecting the growing popularity in cider and its traditional production."

The master classes included contributions from the international visitors on the regional variations in cider making and drinking, including the French style cidres, and German Apfelwein, plus tastings from this year's Champion Cider Maker, Ross Cider and Perry.

One of the producers at the festival was Neil Worley from Worley's Cider. He said: "This year's inaugural International Craft Cider Festival provided an excellent showcase for independent cider makers to demonstrate just what a wide variety of great real cider products are now available. Perhaps even more importantly, we enjoyed ourselves enormously and were able to show visitors the huge passion with which we make cider and perry, and the camaraderie that exists in the cider making community."

Pete Brown, former British Guild of Beer Writers Beer Writer of the Year said: "This is the first time I've seen any kind of drinks festival conducted in this way, combined with a summer music festival, and it's a format that I thought worked really well.  The atmosphere around the cider tents was amazing, and I've never seen such an interesting collection of cider producers in one place.  I hope to be back next year at an event that's bigger and even better!

The festival is one of the many events in the Love The Summer, Love The Valleys campaign, part of Valleys Heart and Soul, a three year campaign which aims to raise awareness of the region as a tourist destination and bring long-term economic benefits to the area, with £42million investment to regenerate The Valleys and highlight the vast amount of activities and attractions on offer for its residents and visitors.

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