How Sandford Orchards Became An Award-Winning Cider Business

In 2002, Barny Butterfield embarked on a cider-making journey in a humble shed. The result? Sandford Orchards launched, which is an award-winning cider business.

Sandford Orchards is a flourishing business, that produces more than seven million pints of cider each year. Despite its impressive growth, the company continues to embody Barny’s original vision of crafting the best-tasting cider, “done right.”

For Barny, cider-making began as a hobby. But his talent and his passion quickly became evident. Faced with a crucial decision between his hobby and his day job, he wholeheartedly devoted himself to Sandford Orchards, a choice he has never regretted. “I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to create such a successful business doing something I truly enjoy,” said Barny.

In the early years, Sandford Orchards faced a steep learning curve, with limited staff – comprising of mostly family and friends, who were often rewarded with cider for their hard work. However, despite these early challenges, Barny maintained a steadfast focus on producing top-quality cider. 

His dedication paid off in 2010, when Sandford Orchards clinched the prestigious CAMRA Champion Cider of Great Britain award. This recognition propelled the business into the spotlight, and it instilled in Barny – the confidence to invest in, and expand the enterprise.

“In the last few years, we have witnessed the most rapid growth for the business. By investing over £1.2 million in 2020 for our re-brand and new equipment, we can now produce 3,500 cans per hour, and 6,000 bottles, allowing us to supply more of our exceptional cider to a wider audience,” said Barny.

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And… the accolades keep pouring in for Sandford Orchards: their Devon Red Cider was recently crowned the ‘Best Drink Product’ by the readers of Food Magazine. Beyond its exceptional cider, Sandford Orchards stands out for its commitment to low-impact production methods. The company’s orchards act as carbon sinks – promoting soil health and biodiversity.

All apples are sourced from within a 20-mile radius of the cider works, ensuring a locally sourced product. Moreover, the company bio-converts its by-products into natural green gas and CO2, which are used to carbonate their ciders, further reducing its environmental impact. 

They utilize locally copied regenerating woodlands for fuel, have solar panels installed – that generate 25% of their required electricity, aim to charge all of their company vehicles with renewable power, whilst employing various energy-saving measures, such as natural lighting, rainwater harvesting, and insulation.

In line with their eco-conscious practices, Sandford Orchards produces its cider using filtration and cold sterilization techniques – eliminating the need for boiling ingredients. This approach not only ensures a high-quality product, but it also reduces energy consumption during the manufacturing process.

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