BRITAIN’S largest independent cider maker, with extensive orchards across Worcestershire and Herefordshire, has scooped four medals at a prestigious cider competition.

Aston Manor Cider, which operates a new cider mill at Stourport-on-Severn, enjoyed its best results to date at the International Cider Challenge 2015 where quality and taste are paramount.

Benchmarked against a wide range of other ciders, Malvern Gold won a gold medal, Crumpton Oaks won a silver medal and Frosty Jack’s Mixed Berry and Kingstone Press Pear both earned a bronze medal.

The awards, which celebrate the best tasting ciders, are given to individual cider brands which have been selected for their flavour, aroma and appearance by a panel of judges after a blind tasting.

Gordon Johncox, managing director at Aston Manor Cider, commented: “We are delighted to have been awarded four medals at the International Cider Challenge – our best achievement in this competition to date.

“As the ciders are judged through a blind tasting, the medals awarded are a credit to the quality of these products. Our ethos is to make only the finest ciders so these medals are testament to the hard work and effort that we put into our business.”

Following this achievement, Aston Manor Cider also won the coveted award for the Best Manufacturer (Large) at the West Midlands Business Masters Awards 2015.

The family-owned business scooped the prestigious award at Edgbaston Stadium in Birmingham after being selected from the shortlist of major international businesses based in the Midlands.

Aston Manor Cider, which currently employs over 280 workers, was recognised for its growth and contribution to the local community and economy.

The Midlands-based business has increased its production with a significant planting scheme which will add 350,000 trees to the landscape, expanding the number of acres that supply the business from 300 to 1,300. In doing so it has agreed 25-year contracts with its farmer and grower partners.

Aston Manor Cider was established in 1983 and its product range spans from mainstream to premium ciders such as Malvern Oak and Malvern Gold through to organic cider produced for Duchy Originals. Knights Cider at Storridge, near Malvern, is one of its growers.

It currently exports a range of ciders to more than 20 countries including the USA, Russia and a number of countries in Africa.

The Worcestershire producers of Oldfields Orchard ciders have just been awarded two International medals for their bottled ciders.

Oldfields Orchard Medium Sweet and Medium Dry ciders were both awarded a silver medal. Geoff Thompson from Oldfields Farm near Tenbury Wells said: “We are really pleased to win two silver medals for our first bottled ciders. All our apples are grown on and around Oldfields and and we press, ferment and blend them there ourselves which has resulted in a very juicy product.”