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Saturday 1 September 2012

Relive the cider festival at home by buying a box of cider. Yes, Just like they use at Beer festivals !

If you enjoy quality Ciders and like being able to try new ones at Beer Festivals then I bet you would really like to be able to drink some of the ciders on offer in your own home, well did you know that you can actually buy a box of cider direct from the producer? You don't have to be a pub landlord to order.

Cost of cider (including delivery).
You can get 35 pints of Bumble Berry cider for £69.35 delivered. That makes it just £1.98 a pint which is pretty good value. Or Devon Mist cider works out at just £1.69 a pint.

If your a cider drinker and visited the beer festival at the Derby's Flower Pot pub last weekend then you may well have tried one called Bumble Berry 4% (Apples, Strawberries, Blackcurrants, Raspberries and Blackberries - marvellous fruit cider.)
Bumble Berry Cider at the 2012 Flower pot beer festival, Derby in August 2012.
This was a really easy to drink tasty cider and I thought I would look into trying to buy a box of it for home. In this blog post I will tell you just how easy it is to do. The best thing is you pay using PayPal and it will be delivered tomorrow if you order before noon today.

I ordered my box about 7am on Wednesday and it was delivered at 9:50am on Thursday.

My box of Bumble Berry cider delivered from Sandford Orchards.
This is my box of cider, it weighs 15 Kg

 The cider producer I used on this occasion also sells another cider which I love.
One called Fanny’s Bramble 4% (A Still purple cider. A marriage made in a Devon lane. Blackberries and cider, a fruity joyous light and easy cider.) This is a cider that was on at the Babington Arms pub, Derby a few months ago, not seen it again.
As it happens both of these ciders are currently on at the New Zealand Arms pub in Derby.

To see my personal favorite list of Ciders, see my post - Andy's favorite Ciders. If you like the same ciders then you know you will like the one I ordered here.

Here is my experience of buying a box of cider. I found it very easy, quick and Barny Butterfield at Sandford Orchards was really helpful.
Sandford Orchards were awarded "Champion Cider of Great Britain" by CAMRA in 2010.

Easy to follow order guide to getting your box of cider delivered tomorrow.

1) Visit the Sandford Orchards website.
2) Click on Products then select "Bag in a box".
3) Select which of their ciders you would like to buy from a choice of...
  • Bumble Berry 4%
  • Cider Ginger 4%
  • Devon Mist 4.5%
  • Deven Red 4.5%
  • Devon Scrumpy 6%
  • Fanny's Bramble 4%
  • Old Kirton 6%
  • Pear Shaped 7%
  • Shaky Bridge 6%
  • Strawberry Lane 4%
  • Vintage Cider 8%
4) It will show the price that it will cost for one.
5) Type in how many boxes you want and then click the "add to cart" button. You can now select a different box of cider and add that too or any of the other items they sell on their products page.
Note that the delivery charge is better value if you order more than one box of cider. e.g. if your order two boxes it will make it just £1.88 a pint !

6) Now click on the checkout link (top right of page). On here it will show you all of the products you have added and the postage along with the total price to pay.
7) Fill in your email address, billing address and the delivery address. This is handy if you want it delivering at your workplace so you know you will not miss the delivery.
8) If you are happy with all the information click the "continue to payment gateway" link and it will now take you to the standard PayPal login screen where you can login and pay for the cider with just a few mouse clicks. (just like buying something from ebay)
9) You will receive an email to confirm your purchase.
If you order your cider before noon on a weekday then it will be deleivered to you before 4pm the next day!
Sandford Orchards use APC couriers to deliver their cider.

So what exactly is a "box of cider"?
This consists of a very strong cardboard box (see photos below), inside this is a double skinned plastic bag filled with Cider. There is no air in the bag so it will keep for sometime.
At one end there is a tap fitted to the bag. You simply pop the tap out and slide it into the rounded hole and push the flap down.

The dimensions of this box of cider are 15" long x 11" width x 10" high.
This box contains 20 Litres thats 35.2 Pints

How long will it keep?
It will last for 6 months unopened and 2 months once its opened.

The box can be kept at ambient temperature but should ideally be kept cool.

Ideally it would be good if you could fit the box of cider in your fridge (like they do in Weatherspoons pubs) so its always ready to drink but the box is quite large so unless you have a massive fridge you will need to sort something out such as get a small fridge just for this purpose. Fridges seem to be sold by the Litre capacity rather than internal dimentions so you would have to research before buying a fridge :

If you can't fit it in a fridge then you will just have to keep it somewhere cool and put some into a jug in the fridge a few hours before you want it.
I came up with a cooling solution that I found works ok with boxes of cider - Andys box of cider cooling method.

Getting the box ready to use.
Pull out the perforated section of cardboard on the end of the box to reveal the tap inside. You should be able to pull the tap over to the round slotted hole and lock it into place by pushing the cardboard flap down again. Unfortunately the tap on my box was no where near the hole as you can see in the next photo down.

Here I have pulled up the carboard to reveal the tap that needs to be slid into the round slot.

I opened the box up to see where the tap was. I'm guessing that the bag has rotated in transit as the tap is almost 90 degrees out of position. Rather than trying to rotate the bag I decided that not to risk tearing the bag, I would just make a new tap hole in the box. I dare say the bag is strong enough rotate to the correct position but moving a 15Kg bag of liquid is not going to be easy.
A view inside the box showing the bag and tap.
Here is the new tap hole that I made. I used very thick wire to make a sort of circlip to hold the tap in place.

Here is my modified box with tap in a new hole and circlip made from thick wire.
How to prepare the tap for use. The tap has a protective shield around it that has to be removed.Carefully tear apart the perforated section up the front of the tap as per my first photograph then tear open the two side parts from the perforated round top of the tap as in my second photograph. Once you have broken all the perforations around the top simply remove the shield.
The tap is operated by placing your thumb on the top round part and using two fingers underneath the two flanges on the side. Pull them both up to make the cider flow out and release them to stop it.

How to prepare the tap

The tap with the protective seal almost removed.

Now to try the cider!...
My first half pint of Bumble Berry cider from my very own box of cider.
Here are the contact details for the Cider Producer I ordered from.

Sandford Orchards
Lower Parks Farm
EX17 3PR 

Hope you found this of interest.
Please leave a comment if you ordered some cider from Sandford Orchards after seeing my guide here. I would like to see what other people think of the service and their excellent ciders.

Video of Sandford Orchards :

Sanford Orchards Devon made Cider and Juices from Damo Cross on Vimeo.

Also as seen on the Paul O'Grady show ! Watch it HERE.

Some other Cider Producers that sell 10L/20L boxes of draught cider

Gwynt Y Ddraig (Happy Dayz) :

Mr Whiteheads Cider Company (Midnight Special and Strawberry) :

Westons Cider :

Oaky Dokey Cider.

Tutts Clump cider
Farmhouse Perry.




  1. Nice! I think I'll have to give that a go.

  2. Thanks for this Andy, I didn't realise you could buy it like this for home, thought you had to own a pub LOL.
    I love Pear Shaped so going to order one.

    Keith from Chesterfield