Cider producer Simon Gibson wins top award for lockdown excellence
CAMRA’s Pomona Award is awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding achievement, commitment, or contribution to the promotion of real cider or perry.
Simon Gibson has been recognised by the Campaign for Real Ale’s Pomona Award for creating interactive mixed cider boxes during the lockdown restrictions and complementary private tasting sessions to help people across the country not only learn about cider and perry production but actually try their hand at blending the product.
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.
Simon’s Cider offered customers mixed boxes of cider – including those from other producers – and special blending box tasting sessions. Boxes include ‘raw’ unmixed ciders, means of sweetening (sugar and sucralose solutions), water for blending (so that the customer has the same water as the tutor), apple juice and crackers (to clear one’s palate). The aim is to help the public learn about the blending stage of cider making, which was complemented by a two-hour Zoom tasting and Q&A session to maximise interaction and campaigning.
Simon Gibson says: “From the very first time I stepped behind the cider bar at Cambridge Beer Festival, I’ve loved talking to people about cider and perry and helping them find and enjoy ones that suit their palates. I never imagined that nine years later I would be a cidermaker! Receiving the Pomona Award is a massive honour and is a testament to the many friends and fellow cidermakers who have shared their time and knowledge with me over the last 9 years.”
CAMRA Pomona award organiser Andrea Briers said: “Simon’s philosophy in creating these blending and tasting boxes is to educate others. The initiative allowed the public to learn about cider making in a way that would not have been possible in a pub or even a beer festival environment. Despite the restrictions we faced during COVID-19, Simon was able to bring the fine art of cider making right into people’s homes, hosting virtual sessions that helped extend the geographical reach of cider beyond the immediate locale. He’s a well-deserving winner of the Pomona Award and should be applauded for turning what was an incredibly difficult time for many of us into a great opportunity to learn more about cider production and styles.”
The announcement comes as CAMRA members celebrate Cider Month throughout the month of October to mark the start 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/
You can find out more about Simon’s Cider on his website here: www.simonscider.co.uk