ONE of Somerset’s oldest cider makers has pulled together some key stats and facts to celebrate National Apple Day today (October 21).

Sheppy’s Cider Farm has over 90 acres of orchards and at peak, harvest presses up to 50,000 litres of juice per day.

The UK is the largest cider market globally, with almost half (47.8 per cent) of British households now regularly buying cider, and the UK market estimated to be worth £3.4bn in 2022.

David Sheppy, managing director at Sheppy’s Cider and chairman of the National Association of Cider Makers said: “The cider industry has such a rich heritage and the UK should be proud to have producers across the country who have been honing the craft of cider making for hundreds of years.

“It’s encouraging to see that cider is still hugely popular both in pubs and at home, attracting drinkers from all generations.

“With such a diverse range of ciders to explore, we hope that National Apple Day will encourage people to raise a glass and try a cider they haven’t experienced before, whether that’s in a local pub, restaurant, or in their weekly shop.

South West Farmer: Apple harvest at Sheppy's CiderApple harvest at Sheppy's Cider (Image: Sheppy's Cider)

“My favourite for this time of year is Sheppy’s 200, which is a full-flavoured medium cider, with some traditional tannin undertones. It’s the ideal accompaniment to warming lamb, pork, or pasta dishes.”

The range of climate conditions in different parts of the UK makes it an ideal environment for growing apples, with some apple varieties enjoying plenty of sunshine, whilst others can withstand colder temperatures.

Hundreds of apple varieties are grown in the UK, with some of the most widely available eating apple varieties include Braeburn, Bramley, Cox and Royal Gala.

Meanwhile, those most commonly used for making cider in the UK include Foxwhelp, Kingston Black, Yarlington Mill, and Dabinett, and a staggering 56 per cent of apples grown in the UK go towards making cider.

It typically takes eight to 15 medium-sized pressed apples to make 500ml of cider.

Cider accounts for around 20 per cent of total alcohol sales in pubs, making it the second most popular drink after beer and over 870,000 pints of cider are bought in the UK every day.

The UK’s love of cider shows no signs of waning, with the number of people over the age of 45 who enjoy the drink increasing by 50 per cent in the past decade.

Furthermore, the market size of the cider production industry in the UK increased by 25.3 per cent in 2022 alone.

Aside from our home-grown love of cider, British-made cider is exported to over 50 countries worldwide every year.