A tiny railway platform pub in Norfolk has been named National Cider & Perry Pub of the Year 2013 by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.
The National Cider & Perry Pub of the Year award is given to the pub or club which best promotes and encourages sales of quality real cider and perry. Now in its ninth year, the award’s rigorous judging process whittles down nominations for pubs, clubs & cider houses from all over the UK to regional and then super regional finalists.
Hailed by competition judges as ‘A quirky, fun little place to be’ and ‘a good reason to miss your train’, The Railway Arms is located directly on the station platform at Downham Market Railway Station, Norfolk, and has proved a hit with weary travellers and locals alike – especially those looking to sample the finest real ciders and perries the area has to offer.
A delighted Ian Pinches, who together with his wife Lesley Ann Pinches and their son Callum, runs The Railway Arms, said: “We are overjoyed (and very humbled) to hear that The Railway Arms has won this year's CAMRA National Cider & Perry Pub of the Year Award and we wish to thank our customers, supporters and suppliers – in particular special mention must be made of Charles Roberts & the team at Pickled Pig and Paul Fisher & the Directors of The Small Beer Company who, between them, have been very supportive in either making or sourcing fine ciders for us.”
Ian added, “As a ‘micropub’ we are naturally committed to the concept of ‘small is beautiful’ and, although we have extended our range this year, we remain focussed on selling high quality ciders, some of which are made by people we know personally using locally grown apples - although we also like to stock cider and perry from far and wide in the UK, with some regular favourites alongside a frequently changing range of ‘guests’.”
CAMRA has been a longtime supporter of real cider and perry, which is the pear equivalent of cider, with the Cider & Perry Pub of the Year competition being an important way to raise the profile of pubs serving traditionally made real cider and perry across the UK.
Andrea Briers, Chair of CAMRA’s Cider and Perry Committee, said: “The number of pubs that have found a market for real cider is increasing each year, which has meant that the competition has become very tough. I am lucky enough to live fairly close to the Railway Arms and have seen the work that Ian, Lesley-Ann and Callum put in to make the pub a welcoming local. Well done to them on their achievement and congratulations for a well deserved win.”
The Railway Arms beat three other finalists to take the title. These were: The Royal Oak in Wantage, the Penrhyn Arms in Penrhynside, and the George and Dragon in Dent.
The announcement of The Railway Arms as Cider & Perry Pub of the Year kicks off CAMRA's Cider & Perry Month campaign for October. This campaign asks pubs around the country to encourage customers to enjoy a real cider and perry at least once during October and hundreds of events will be hosted by participating pubs and CAMRA branches throughout the month.