Saturday, 9 August 2008

Cider Jar of the Month - Hancock's

Until quite recently a visit to Hancock's cider farm would have made an interesting diversion on a holiday spent in the North Devon/Exmoor area. Like many of the long established family cidermakers in the West Country, Hancock's had developed the farm to cater for curious visitors with displays of cidermaking equipment, a self guided tour of the farm, and a video of the cidermaking process, all this in addition to the well stocked shop selling cider and other local Devon produce. Sadly Hancock's now only sell their ciders wholesale so the chance for casual visitors to explore the farm has gone.

This attractive stoneware jar presumably dates from around the early 70's or later, when the farm must have shifted quite a bit of their prize-winning ciders to visiting tourists. The rear label bears testament to the quality of the ciders, with awards stretching back over the 100 years this family business has been trading. Indeed David Kitton states in his 1984 Traditional Cider Directory that Hancock's were held in high regard by Jeff Williams, doyen of the Long Ashton Research Station. High praise indeed since this was the centre of excellence for the cider industry throughout most of the 20th Century.

The striking Stag logo is still in evidence on the modern bottled and draught ciders, presumably reflecting Hancock's close location to Exmoor, populated as it is with many Red Deer. Hancock's continue to thrive, and I look forward to trying their medium cider which appears on the provisional cider list for the forthcoming Peterborough Beer Festival

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