Cider heaven in Bubwith

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QUALITY cider may be associated with the west country, but a Bubwith-based shop is proving that alcoholic apple drinks can be just as good in the north.

The Jug & Bottle, a specialist delicatessen and off licence, has yet another major national award to add to the many accolades it has received over the past few years.

At a glittering awards ceremony at The Dorchester Hotel in London, they beat the largest beer shop in the country and were crowned Independent Cider Retailer of the Year at the 10th anniversary of The Drinks Retailing Awards - one of the most widely-anticipated and rigorously-judged competitions in the trade’s calendar.

Despite husband and wife team, Doug and Louise Smith’s East Yorkshire independent shop being located a long way from cidermaking country, the brochure given out to all guests on the awards night stated; “It has become one of the best destination shops for the drink. There are seven regular draught ciders consistently on tap, with up to a choice of 16 at any one time. The line-up is constantly changing so cider fans always have something new to try.”

All draught ciders are served in the shop’s own branded jugs, and a blackboard menu makes ordering selections from the cellar a doddle. There’s also an extensive range of premium bottled cider brands on display, with the emphasis on niche and boutique products rather than the big brands that can be found in most supermarkets.

The shop is no stranger to success, having landed the Neighbourhood Off-licence of the Year category in the 2009 ceremony, and also took the Chairman’s Award for Enhancing the Built Heritage of the East Riding because of the unique attractiveness of their Main Street premises.

They were also named the best shop in the York area for real ale, courtesy of CAMRA- the Campaign for Real Ale, but they were overjoyed to take the latest prize.

Louise said: “We are delighted to be Independent Cider Retailer of 2011 and the runner-up in the Independent Beer Retailer category.

“The very two categories which we are so passionate about the products that we sell! Not only have we worked really hard in the last year to beat the recession and continue to offer helpful and friendly customer service, but we also have some innovative approaches to the stocking and selling of our beers, real ales, ciders and perry.

“Very few retailers in the country dispense cider directly into jugs like we do and we always offer pre-purchase tasters of our draught ciders. Our focus on microbrewers and non-supermarket products confirms our support for the grassroots of the industry.”