THERE was cider and song aplenty at the second South Somerset Cider Sampling held at Hinton St George.

More than 150 fans of Somerset’s traditional drink raised over £400 for Hinton’s village hall and church by joining in a celebration of the juice of the apple and its natural accompaniment of local food.

In addition to local Somerset farmhouse ciders to sample were others from Dorset and Devon, and also the better known names of Burrow Hill, Kingscombe and Perry’s of Dowlish Wake.

Apple juice from North Perrott Fruit Farm was much in demand as were Pieminster Pies, served by Dorothy’s Tea Room, and sausages and bacon from Ilminster firm Bringing Home The Bacon.

Crooked Furrow entertained the crowd playing a rousing selection of West Country and other traditional music.

Opening the evening, Julian Temperley, of the Somerset Cider Brandy Company, said: “This event is an important celebration of the craft of the artisan cider maker and showcases the variety of high quality ciders available today.

“This is real cider made from 100% pure apple juice from local orchards and I am pleased to say that the Government has very recently recognised the importance of artisan cider-making by granting it a tax concession.”

One of the organisers, Matthew Bryant, added: “This year’s cider sampling, as last year, was a great success and I would like to thank all those who contributed. In particular, the cider makers who generously gave their time and donated cider.

“This event is now part of the cider-making year in south Somerset and we look forward to the third cider sampling which will be on September 9 next year.”

Any cider makers, hobby or commercial, who may consider taking part should contact Matthew Bryant on 01460-73454.