A Wessex pub that has been a pillar of the community for more than two centuries has won the ultimate cider award and has been named winner of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) National Cider Pub of the Year 2016.
The Unicorn Inn, Bayford near Wincanton, has been named the best place in the UK to drink Real Cider by CAMRA. On the main road from London to Plymouth, the Unicorn opened in 1789 and was originally built as a coaching house.
Landlords Richard Cummins and Jayne Wallace have been running the pub for nine years, and are responsible for turning it back into a true cider pub. The Unicorn Inn has become famous for its ‘real cider’ which is made from pure fruits with no additives or chemicals and served naturally still, unlike commercially produced cider which is force-carbonated to give it fizz. Real perry is produced in exactly the same way as real cider but with pear juice instead of apple juice.
Sarah Newson, the organiser of the Cider Pub of the Year competition had this to say about the Unicorn Inn, “The Unicorn is a wonderful showcase for some of the finest Somerset ciders and perries, although an occasional ‘foreign’ cider such as one from Devon may make a guest appearance! It is fitting that at last we have a national winner from what most people consider to be the heartland of traditional cider. The licensee Richard promotes the real ciders and perries he sells, with a great passion. He is genuinely interested in their provenance and knows many of his local producers well. The quality of the carefully chosen products are also top-notch, being kept at a constant cellar temperature. He has been trying to keep improving his offering and it has now certainly paid dividends.”
Richard had this to say about winning, “We think it’s fantastic, it’s absolutely brilliant. We’re overwhelmed at becoming CAMRA’s National Cider Pub of the Year winner for 2016. This is the first time we’ve won it, we’ve won the Heart of Wessex branch cider award three times in a row from 2014 and winning this year overall is a great honour.”