Following more than a year of local tasting panels and regional heats, Harry’s Scrummage has been named the best cider in the country, and Nempnett Piglet’s Choice has won best perry at CAMRA’s National Cider and Perry Championships.

Scrummage impressed judges as “a sharp but easy drinking cider that stretches to a long lingering and pleasant aftertaste”, while Piglet’s Choice took the crown for being “a well-balanced perry with a clean and fruity taste”.

The winners were honoured at the Reading Beer and Cider Festival, at Christchurch Meadows, in Caversham. The home of the National Cider and Perry Championships, the festival features more than 550 beers and 150 ciders and perries, plus a selection of foreign beers, wines and mead.

Each cider and perry in the competition is judged on its individual taste, aroma, flavour, after-taste and overall appeal. The top awards were selected by a specially chosen panel of both experienced and novice judges.

Speaking after the win, Harry Fry, of Harry’s Cider, said: “I’m overwhelmed and really excited about this accolade. It’s a huge achievement for the whole of the Harry’s team. I hope everyone enjoys the cider as much as we do.”

100-year-old orchards

Keith Balch, of Nemphett Cider Company, added: “It’s fantastic news and just shows what great products you can make from 100-year-old orchards.”

Andrea Briers, CAMRA’s national cider and perry committee chairman, said: “Huge congratulations to Harry’s and Nempnett’s for taking home the golds with their Scrummage and Piglet’s Choice respectively.

“While CAMRA has supported and campaigned for quality real cider and perry for over 30 years, the recent vote to support the long-term future of cider and perry has made these products firmly part of our campaign, alongside quality real ale.

“This is fantastic news for cider drinkers across the country who want to see quality, traditional cider and perry made from apples and pears form part of our future.”