Cider expert Susanna Forbes wins top award for cider advocacy during the pandemic
Susanna Forbes, cider expert and author and co-founder of Little Pomona Cider in Herefordshire, has received the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)’s Pomona Award for her long-time commitment to the industry, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
Named after the Roman Goddess of apples, the Pomona Award is presented to a person or organisation that has made an outstanding achievement, commitment, or contribution to the promotion of real cider or perry.
Susanna has a multitude of cider achievements under her belt: in 2018 she published the book Cider Insider, and she has also served as drinks editor of Imbibe magazine and as a member of the Guild of British Beer Writers. She and her husband James Forbes established Little Pomona in 2015, crafting a variety of cider and perries from their orchard near Bromyard and partner orchardists around the region. They moved to their current site in 2019 and opened a Tasting Room and Cider Garden in 2020.
A staunch supporter of Ciderlands, the international cider tourism and culture network founded by the Basque Country, Susanna worked with the ‘Ciderologist’ Gabe Cook to host its first meeting in Hereford and the Three Counties in 2019. She also co-led on the formation of the group Cider Women in 2019, helping to promote the profile and involvement of women within the cider industry and hospitality, and beyond.
During the pandemic when the industry was hard hit by lockdowns and restrictions, Susanna moved Full Juice magazine, a publication entirely focused on cider, onto an online platform and was among those who worked with the ‘Ciderologist’ Gabe Cook to launch the Discover Cider campaign in October 2020, which is dedicated to encouraging consumers to try cider.
Susanna says: “It’s such an honour to be given this award by CAMRA – thank you! The majority of my cider heroes are past winners of the Pomona Award, which makes it even more special. CAMRA lit the touchpaper over a decade ago when BEER commissioned me to write a piece on beer and cider tourism. The journey has never stopped. Locally, regionally and internationally, apples and pears around the world in the right hands can make extraordinary drinks. We producers have to be ambitious and to share the stories.”
“This award goes to everyone who helps take cider further, especially the Cider Women group, my Full Juice collaborators, the Ciderlands masif, and my husband James, for being my rock and aiming high with Little Pomona. Come see us to taste the difference. Finally, to CAMRA – for its steadfast support of the sector and its desire to empower all to enjoy the golden nectar.”
CAMRA Pomona Award organiser Andrea Briers said: “Several of Susanna’s projects have come to the fore over the past couple of years, which have been more noticeable during the Covid pandemic. She is a dedicated advocate of real cider & perry, and a very worthy winner of this award.”
The announcement comes as CAMRA members celebrate Cider Month throughout the month of October to mark the heart of the harvest season. To find out more about the Cider Month and how to take part, visit https://camra.org.uk/beer-and-cider/campaigns-cider/cider-and-perry-months/
Award event: Susanna Forbes is being presented with the Pomona Award on 16 October 2021 at 2.30pm, following the Mayor of Hereford, Cllr Paul Stevens, planting a pair of perry pear trees at Little Pomona. Cllr Stevens, as part of his year of activities as Mayor, is committing to rescuing the endangered Holmer perry pear with plantings at key locations around the country. In attendance with the Mayor will be former mayor Cllr Kath Hey, who welcomed guests to the inaugural Ciderlands banquet in 2019, and Elizabeth Pimblett, director of the Museum of Cider.