Case Study Overview
Sandford Orchards in Devon is run by Barny Butterfield. Barny's production aims were ...
- to increase the speed & productivity of bottling to meet demand
- flexibility to apply ROPP & crown caps
- functionality to bottle additional products
We supplied, installed & commissioned a 5,000 bph complete bottling line, which included conveyoring, a CIMEC 24 valve filler with rinsing and capping functions & a Cavagnino & Gatti labelling machine.
The award-winning Sandford Orchards produce a wide range of ciders from over 70 varieties of cider apples grown within 30 miles of their site at The Cider Works, in Crediton, Devon.
Founders Barny and Marie Butterfield began making cider in 2002 from traditional orchards around the village. Barny said, 'we picked up apples planted by generations before that, who knew how to make great cider. We picked them up, squashed them and there was the blend.' In 2009 they took up the tenancy of their own farm, planted cider apple trees and began the growth from hobby, to a genuine cider business.
Growth & Heritage
In 2014 Barny and Marie began a new project returning an 'imposing' building, formerly Crediton's cider mill (1935 to 1967), back to its original use. The rich heritage of the mill, which was known locally as 'The Cider Works', led Barny to feel that, despite the repairs they've carried out, little has changed: '...really, we've just moved back in'.
Sandford Orchards now has a total of 3 cidermakers and produce a wide range of traditional, contemporary and fine ciders. These include session ciders such as Devon Red, infused ciders, and fine ciders. They've won many awards, including CAMRA's 'Champion Cider of Great Britain', the Great Taste Awards, and for their St Louis Dry Hopped Cider, the Guild of Fine Food's Supreme Champion Product award - the Golden Fork.
Barny approached us looking to increase the speed and productivity of bottling in order to meet increased demand. He also wanted to add additional capability to the bottling process with the flexibility to apply ROPP or crown caps and to bottle additional products.
We worked through a variety of layouts to work with the space available and the existing processing equipment.
After discussion, we quoted and supplied a 5,000 bottle and labelling line. This included:
- 24 head CIMEC America counter pressure filling machine with 24 head rinse, 3 head crown cap and 3 head ROPP cap functionality
- Cavagnino & Gatti CG E8/3XPSP-4 automatic labeller to provide front, back and neck labels
- 'build back' tables to ensure the bottle feed to the filling machine was not disrupted during label reel changeover on the labelling machine
Due to the scale of the line, installation and commissioning took place over 2 weeks and was carried out by 2 or 3 of our engineers at any one time.
We asked Barny the following questions ...
If you were asked to describe Sandford Orchards in 5 words, what words would you choose? Any words you like...
'A modern cidery with soul.'
Your journey has been extraordinary and you've reconnected Crediton with its cidermaking heritage. When you look back over the last 20 years, what achievement/s are you most pleased about?
'That is it for me. The town and area has its heritage back, the orchards are producing fruit to be drunk in these valleys. Lovely.'
Why did you choose us for the bottling line?
'I've never been a stranger to Vigo - and so when it came to a generational investment I knew I wanted to work with a company with a long track record. My previous machine was supplied by Vigo, and fellow cider makers in the region all spoke very highly of the service and quality of kit.'
What do you think of the equipment supplied and the installation/commissioning work carried out?
'The kit is fantastic. The guys who fitted the machines were brilliant - their experience was critical for us. There were a few last minute wobbles from me - and having chaps who've fitted many lines, and know what a bottling hall should look like was a great help.'