James FInch
Cider Chairman

James Finch has been writing and video blogging about cider and perry for many years as The Cider Critic. His passion to travel, explore and taste the breadth of what cider and perry has to offer has led to him contributing to many online & print publications including Crafty Nectar, Malt Review, Cider Review and Full Juice Magazine. He has written and created video educational content for CAMRA’s Learn & Discover zone. All of this has led to his own cider journey and in early 2019 he planted his own cider apple orchard.

Dimple Athavia
Panel Captain 2023

Dimple Athavia is founder of All Things Drinks, a new online drinks retail company which is born out of her passion for bringing amazing flavours and delicious drinks to people. With over 12 years of experience in the drinks industry, Dimple began her journey after graduating with a BSc in Winemaking. Recently, she held the esteemed position of Tastings Manager at IWSC, where her knowledge and expertise in the field were widely recognised. In addition, Dimple has completed Shochu and Sake WSET Level 3 courses, and regularly participates in judging panels for various wine, spirits, cider competitions to refine her palate. Her pursuit of discovering and appreciating flavors continues to shape her journey in the industry.

Al Collar
Panel Judge 2023

A relative newcomer to Cider, having started Pulpt with his co-founder Jim in 2017. Driven by his passion for cider and a desire to be the best he can be, Al immersed himself fully into the apply world. He has sucked up as much information as possible and learnt from the best and from experience, including developing a strong understanding of the sensory analysis of ciders. He has been a judge for a number of prestigious cider competitions and has tasted the good and bad, but never the ugly! He says it is an honour to be invited to judge at the ICC this year and looks forward to discovering what you cider gurus have created.

Simon Day
Panel Judge 2023

Simon Day is a Winemaker; Viticulturalist; Distiller and Cidermaker, who has been growing and fermenting grapes, apples and other fruits for over 30 years. Currently heading up wine and cider production at fledgling new company Kingsthorne in Gloucestershire, he is perhaps best known in the cider world for Once Upon A Tree. Started in 2007, Once Upon A Tree saw a winemaking approach to cider making and presentation, inspired to make sharing bottles of cider that pair perfectly with food, and releasing the first UK ice-cider and the first commercial cider co-ferments using grape skins and wine lees.

Thom Hewitt
Panel Judge 2023

Thom Hewitt is a Cider Pommelier specialising in training and tasting experiences. He aims to get others to enjoy cider in all its varieties and to help them understand what they are tasting - whether that is a bottle from a supermarket or a high-end cider from a specialist retailer or bar. He is a member of the Welsh Perry and Cider Society and he lives in South Wales with his wife, two children and a cat.

David Jones
Panel Judge 2023

David, 47, Is the owner of Bier Huis a former Drinks Retailing Awards independent cider retailer of the year, based in Ossett, West Yorkshire. He has been part of the judging team for the ICC for many years as well as being a judge in the International beer challenge. He loves trying new ciders and his favourite style is ciders from France. When not working David plays PDRL for Wakefield Trinity and is also part of the coaching set up for Wales PDRL. Involved with local community groups and the local CAMRA branch where he is cider rep.

Albert Johnson
Panel Judge 2023

Albert Johnson is a fourth-generation cidermaker and farmer at Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry Company in Herefordshire, UK. Albert balances the tradition and heritage of his family home with a forward thinking and creative perspective on where cider and perry can travel to in the future; exploring through his cidermaking all the avenues which apples and pears can journey down, with a specialty in single variety ciders and named varietal blends. He is vice-chair of the Three Counties Cider & Perry Association, and has been organising CraftCon, the UK’s only cidermaking trade conference, since it began in 2019.

Neil Macdonald
Panel Judge 2023

Neil has been involved in in the cider industry for over 25yrs as both a cider maker and apple growers. He was one of the two founding partners of Orchard Pig Cider and have been growing fruit at Orchard Park farm for many cider makers both small and large. . He is still involved with making cider and providing packaging and distribution services to the cider industry through Somerset Cider Solutions and The Bristol Cider Shop.

Susannah Mansfield
Panel Judge 2023

Susannah is the Landlady of two multi-award winning pubs in Durham including The Station House, (runner up CAMRA National Pub of the Year in 2022). She is a qualified Pommelier, and cider maker at Elvet Cider. She is passionate about increasing the quality of cider and perry available to customers in the North East, and about sharing the joy and knowledge of it.

Alex Metcalfe
Panel Captain 2023

Alex Metcalfe is a writer, forager, fermenter, educator and changemaker. He is the Learning & Discovery Manager for CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. He is a producer of award-winning content, empowering people to learn more about the drinks they love via CAMRA’s online Learn & Discover platform and CAMRA’s YouTube channel. Alex’s background is in drinks, food, farming, and sustainability seeking to deepen people’s connections to where their food and drink comes from. Through his work Alex advocates for increasing the diversity of those creating and communicating about beer and cider. Soon to be a Pommelier, Alex has judged the international Cider Challenge for several years as well as at the Three Counties Show in Malvern.

Cath Potter
Panel Judge 2023

Discovering a passion for cider, Cath Potter became a chair of her my local CAMRA branch and a founder member of Manchester Cider Club. She is a qualified Pommelier and a member of the steering group of Cider Women.

Mike Shoreland
Panel Judge 2023

Mike shorland had been drinking and making small batch cider since he was much younger. Then in 2018 he quit his career to follow his dream of planting a new orchard and making aspirational juices. He also is an advocate for all ciders, writing occasionally, particularly focusing on his home country Devon.

Have a read of this piece about his story…

Helen Anne Smith
Panel Judge 2023

Helen Anne Smith is a bartender, content creator, writer and union activist based in South Wales, they are also the founder of Burum Collective, a volunteer-led drinks publication and platform. Their work straddles beer, cider and hospitality, and have previously worked with Welsh Mountain Cider, and Little Pomona.

Alison Taffs
Panel Captain 2023

Alison Taffs has been a trainer and drinks educator for more than 20 years, training hospitality staff and managers and later running tastings with consumers. She trained originally with The Wine and Spirit Education Trust, selected wines for national restaurant brands, and blended with winemakers in France and Italy She fell in love with beer and cider while looking after a Belgian restaurant beer list of over 100 bottles and taps and working in Bermondsey through the growth of the craft beer scene. She is a regular host of the CAMRA monthly podcast; ‘Pubs, Pints, People’ and creates videos for CAMRA’s learning & discovery platform. She has also qualified as an advanced Pommelier with the Gabe Cook and the Beer & Cider Academy Alison is the co-owner and landlady of The Hop Inn Micropub in Hornchurch. She and husband Phil opened the pub in 2020 and won CAMRA’s Pub of the Year and Cider Pub of the Year for London in 2021. They repeated this double in 2022 and then went on to be named UK Cider Pub of the Year last year. Alison founded The London Cider and Perry Club in 2022, they meet for tastings monthly through the year with cider & perry makers.

Mary Topp
Panel Judge 2023

With over fifteen years of experience working with her family business, New Forest Cider, Mary has a wealth of knowledge in all aspects of the business from production to sales. Mary has spent much of her professional career developing the family’s flagship cider bar at London’s Borough Market and more recently teamed up with Oliver’s Cider & Perry, The Fine Cider Co and Two Orchards Cider to evolve the cider bar into a world class cider house, offering both the very best draught and bottled fine ciders. Mary has a keen eye for detail and particularly enjoys trying the diverse range of international ciders the bar has to offer.

Jack Toye
Panel Judge 2023

Jack lives in a lovely West Norfolk and has been making Cider & Perry with fruit from local orchards since 2020. Everything he’s made so far has been wild ferment and bottle conditioned – although he’s not against the idea of some BIB releases in the future too.

He has very nearly (oh so close) completed the Beer & Cider Academy’s Pommelier Course, run by the effervescent Gabe Cook, aka The Ciderologist. One more assessment to go! He is a judge at CAMRA’s Nottingham and Norwich Beer & Cider Festivals, and look forward to more judging in the future.

He is also a very proud contributing writer for Cider Review - covering Japanese cider, orchards at distilleries, and Oliver’s Out Of The Barrel Room series.

Adam Wells
Panel Captain 2023

Adam Wells is the founder, co-editor and lead features writer of Cider Review, the UK's leading source of reviews and long-form articles on cider and perry. He has also contributed to, Pellicle Magazine, Burum Collective, Graftwood, Full Juice and other publications and wrote the British section for Le Journal du Sommelier - Cidre. In addition to his writing Adam frequently judges at international cider and perry competitions and leads regular tastings and presentations. He has been described by Gabe Cook (The Ciderologist) as ‘the key cider writer in the UK’.

Ewan Wright
Panel Judge 2023

Ewan comes from a varied background in the drinks industry, from working and teaching about wine and whisky with his WSET qualifications, he has now found his passion in showcasing the world of cider and those who are in it, through hosting cider and cheese evenings in London. After completing his level 3 Pommelier Course, Ewan looks forward to taking the final step in the qualification and achieving the ultimate cider accolade!

Richard Yarnell
Panel Judge 2023

Richard has more than a decade of experience in the hospitality industry and spent much of his career as Category Manager for Beer & Cider at Mitchells & Butlers, one of the UK's biggest pub groups. A passionate home cider maker, Richard is now based in North Devon and spends his spare time championing local cider makers and exploring the local moors and beaches with his wife and three greyhounds.

Andrew Coates
Panel Judge 2023

Andrew is passionate about the drinks industry at all levels having worked in it his whole adult life. He has a love for all drinks, especially ones with great friends. He says he is lucky to work with some amazing people across the venues and drinks development business and work with them every day.