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The Unicorn Wins its Third Cider Pub of the Year Award

Monday 2 May 2016, 18:46
By John Smith

The Unicorn Cider House and Kitchen in Bayford

In 2014 The Unicorn Cider House and Kitchen in Bayford was voted Heart of Wessex ‘CAMRA Real Cider Pub of the Year’. To their delight, landlords Richard Cummins and his partner Jayne Wallace went on to win the same award in both 2015, and now 2016.

Richard and Jayne bought the pub some nine years ago, and have traded as a free-house ever since, being an integral part of the local community.

The presentation of the actual award will take place at The Unicorn Inn on Wednesday 6th May at 7.30pm, after which there will be a buffet followed by live folk music. You can contact Richard and Jayne on 01963 34941 for information and bookings.

The bar at The Unicorn, Bayford

On the run up to the award evening The Unicorn hosted the annual Real Cider Festival from Friday 29th April to Sunday 1st May. The theme was Devon Ciders v Somerset Ciders. During the festival over fifteen different real ciders were available from the bar.

  • King Brain cider 6.0 %, from Little Weston Near Sparkford
  • Blackmore Vale cider 5.0 % from Templecombe
  • Copse House cider 5.0 % from Sandley
  • Cock Hill Farmhouse cider 6.0% from Cock Hill Castle Cary

There were also be a selection of pure juices in the form of Yarlington Mill Browns, Sweet Pippin, Cox, Lord Lambourne, and Jonagold. Perry comes in the form of Dabinett, Hendre Huffcap Perry and Blakeney Red Perry.

‘CAMRA’ is an acronym for ‘CAMpaign for Real Ale’, an organisation created in 1971 by four men concerned about the way the beer producers of the time were (in their opinion), supplying beer that lacked flavour and quality. Over the years their efforts have witnessed the creation of a new breed of real ales, brewed naturally, with no need for carbonation or artificial additives.

The tables and wood burner at The Unicorn, Bayford

Over time it was felt that the cider and perry industry was heading in the same direction, so in 1988 CAMRA committed itself to campaign for real cider and perry as well as real ale. Like most prominent national awards the process starts at grass roots. The Unicorn is one of 90 pubs registered with the Heart of Wessex CAMRA region. Every year the process is the same.

  1. Public Nominations (between October and November).
  2. Branch judging from January to mid-March (Branch Cider Pub of the Year)
  3. Regional judging from mid-March to mid-May (Regional Cider Pub of the Year)
  4. Super-Regional judging from mid-May to mid-July (Finalist for the National Cider Pub of the Year)
  5. Final Judging from mid-July to mid-September (National Cider Pub of the Year)

To be considered for any part of this process the Unicorn had to convince the judges that they fulfilled three important criteria.

  • The pub has to stock a good range of ciders (5 plus).
  • The pub has to store the cider at a stable 58 degrees.
  • The landlord(s) have to display an extensive knowledge of the cider they stock.

Cider menu, and the coveted CAMRA award

By winning the award in three successive years Richard and Jayne have proved that they have mastered the criteria, and maintained this consistent high standard over the three years. We hope that their hard work and broad knowledge of real cider will now take them to the next level at ‘Regional level’.


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