The winner of the 2020 Beer & Brewer Awards Best Cider Maker is James Kendell from Small Acres Cyder in Orange in NSW.

These awards feature in the Summer 2020/21 edition of Beer & Brewer. Head here to discover all of our great subscription offers.

With years delivering some of Australia’s best traditional ciders it might come as quite strange for James Kendell to win this award for the first time considering 2020 was the toughest 12 months of his 13 years running multi-award winning Small Acres Cyder in Orange in NSW.

Especially so when it comes after 2019’s decorated year when he became one of the few Australian producers to win the coveted “trifecta” of cider awards in a single year – Best Cider in Show and Best Perry in Show at the Australian Cider Awards and Champion Bottle Conditioned Award at the Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show.

“I guess we stand on our record on what we have done in the past, but it’s been a tough old year that’s for sure, in terms of fruit availability because of the drought last season and that’s had such a big impact on this calendar year,” James said.

“We got to the point last October where we literally had to make the decision to forgo the crop and we didn’t pick a single apple on our orchard last season and that was based on the decision of getting a crop or losing the orchard. It takes more water to produce a crop than to keep the tree alive. It was the right decision because we pretty much ran out of water come January and we didn’t get any more until March. It makes it hard to make cider when you don’t have any apples.”

But with the second half of 2020 producing ideal growing conditions, where James’ dams overflowed for the first time in four years, 2021 will hopefully be another vintage year for Small Acres.

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