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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 June, 2005, 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK
Brewers reviving cider tradition
Gwynt Y Ddraig/Dragon's Wind cider
Both Welsh cider makers have noticed an increase in sales
Wales is enjoying a revival as a brewer of cider and perry after two drinks companies won coveted awards.

Back in the 1700s, Wales was known for its cider production but, over the centuries, the West Country took over as the main producer.

But the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) believes Welsh cider brewers are now making a welcome comeback.

Gwynt y Ddraig from Llantwit Fardre, south Wales, and Ralph's 3Bs Cider, from Powys, have won two top awards.

Gwynt Y Ddraig - or Dragon's Wind - won a gold medal at the Reading Beer and Cider Festival for its perry last month, and Ralph's 3Bs, from New Radnor, received a gold for its cider.

Gwynt Y Draig took the award for the best cider last year.

You could say that Wales is becoming one of Europe's top cider and perry producers
Rhys Jones, CAMRA

Since their success at Camra's showpiece, both companies have reported improved sales.

The campaign's cider spokesman in Wales, Rhys Jones, said: "I suppose you could say that Wales is becoming one of Europe's top cider and perry producers.

"Generally, England and Wales are traditional cider makers, but good results from Welsh producers recently have been impressive."

The English counties of Herefordshire, Somerset, and Gloucestershire have been more closely associated with cider production in more recent times, he added.

"More people have become involved in cider recently and many small breweries now exist. They've found that the quality and taste of Welsh cider is still there," Mr Jones said.

Cider barrel with apples on top
The juices of apples are left to ferment in barrels

Gillian Williams, Camra's director of cider and perry campaigning, said Wales was "re-awakening its past" as a cider maker after it was renowned as a producer in the 16th and 17th Century.

Ralph Owen's 3Bs Cider had tremendous character and depth, said the festival's judges.

Mr Owen, 52, said: "Since our gold medal at the festival our sales have gone up by 10%."

He added that he brewed about 7,000 litres a year and also held the Welsh cider title.

Gwynt Y Ddraig brewers Andrew Gronow and his uncle Bill George have been cider producers for just five years.

Mr George, 52, said: "We're looking to boost production later this year from about 8,000 litres to about 22,000 litres.

"Since our success last year and this year we've noticed an increase in sales and people wanting our cider and perry. Welsh cider is clearly making an impression."

It's gold for Welsh cider-makers
03 Jun 04 |  South East Wales
Old cider press will be restored
29 Apr 04 |  Hereford/Worcs
County's links to cider explored
12 Nov 03 |  Hereford/Worcs
Cider apple crop is home grown
01 Oct 03 |  Somerset

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