The Bartenders' Brand Awards, now in its fifth year, is our annual product testing - by bartenders, for bartenders. 

The BBAs follows a three-step process to mirror buying behaviour, with each product blind-tasted, judged on value for money and finally by design. For more on the methodology behind the BBAs, read more here.

The focus of our serialised results today, is the top-five products in the cider category.

Well, the UK may be a nation of cidermakers, but so is France and it’s the French brand Galipette that takes the top honours in the cider category again this year.

This time out the brand’s Extra Brut had the same total points as Kingstone Press Low Alcohol Cider, but gets the nod based on its superior taste score.

Judges talked of “fresh apple on the nose and apple pie on the palate”, with “wellintegrated alcohol” too. That was enough to score it 35/50 and with further silvers across value for money and design, it finished with 68/100.

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Kingstone Press Low Alcohol Cider saw tasting notes of “crisp, refreshing and super apple-y”. With three silvers across our judging parameters, it was another solid performance from the Aston Manor brand.

In third, Thatchers Zero continued the good showing of low and no-abv ciders in the BBAs (Galipette’s 0% cidre took Category Champion last year), with a silver on taste and value for money and a bronze for design.

In fourth and fifth came two classic brands – Kingstone Press Apple Cider and Thatcher’s Apple Cider. 

With solid results across our assessments, they perhaps remind us that for all the premium products in the market, with slick branding, there is a reason why these stalwarts have mass appeal.