At an awards ceremony held at the NEC in Birmingham on Wednesday 28th November, Once Upon A Tree were awarded “Best Drinks Producer” at the BBC Food & Farming Awards 2012, narrowly beating two other finalists to the top spot. The company was one of the handful of finalists shortlisted from thousands of public nominations from listeners of the BBC4 Food Programme, You & Yours, and Farming Today.
Raymond Blanc, Valentine Warner, Paul Hollywood, Angela Hartnett and Adam Henson were among the foodie celebrities there to present awards to the 10 Winners across the 9 categories. Beer writer Pete Brown who presented the awards to the Once Upon A Tree team said:
This company is redefining the category, making people think about drinks in a different way… For me, they tell the whole story, from the place where it’s made; where the ingredients are grown, right through to how it is sold…”
After the event, cider maker Simon Day said:
It is such an honour to get this award – the enormity of it is slowly sinking in! The judges seemed to really understand what we’re about and our passion for authentic, real cider, and the links with our community and heritage.” He adds “The world of craft cider making is in very good shape at the moment – there has never been a better time to be a producer… For us it is all about celebrating tradition and heritage here in Herefordshire whilst being innovative in re-connecting the links between good cider and good food”
The news follows just four weeks after opening the Three Counties Cider Shop in the centre of Ledbury. Director Norman Stanier said:
The judges seemed particularly impressed with the shop, and the way it champions cider not only from Once Upon A Tree, but from the whole region, showcasing the range of flavours and styles on offer.”
The company have been overwhelmed by the public response to the news, with messages of congratulations from local residents, business leaders and many of the loyal customers and supporters of the business, who have seen the company grow over the past 5 years.
Simon Day adds:
We are very proud of what we have been able to achieve in a short space of time, and would like to thank those who have bought our cider, perry and juice; those who have taken time to visit the orchard or who have spoken with us at shows; the Dragon Orchard Cropsharers; Tree Sponsors and for the overwhelming support we have had from our local community since we started pressing our first apples just 5 years ago.”