Ye Olde legend wins award for services to cider in Devon
A landlord who has dedicated his life to the Westcountry’s most famous tipple has been handed a top award – for services to cider.
Richard Knibbs has lovingly maintained Ye Olde Cider House in Newton Abbot for more than 40 years – one of only three such watering holes still in existence.
His passion for cider and perry, coupled with an almost legendary disdain for change, have cemented the traditional bar as a firm favourite among locals and turned it into a national treasure. Now the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has presented him with its annual Pomona award, named after the Roman goddess of apples.
Mr Knibbs said: “I am absolutely delighted and pleased that Camra supports this wonderful, traditional drink.
“I am a person who does not like change and this is why the bar has been kept the same over the years.”
With furniture fashioned from oak barrel staves, tankards hanging up behind the bar and not a juke box in sight, Ye Olde Cider House is like a step back in time.
The only concessions to modernity are a mechanised till to replace the old drawer, a one-arm bandit and a television suspended from the ceiling used for important sporting events.
Manager Hannah Wells said it was a wonderful place to work and always awash with fascinating conversation.
She said: “It’s a real mix where everyone gets on and talks to one another – both locals and tourists.
“It is about time Richard got an award – cider is a massive part of his life and he is the reason this place has not changed.”
Cider houses were one commonplace across the country, but the only other remaining examples are the Monkey House, in Defford, Worcestershire and the Cider House in Quatt, Shropshire.
Camra is currently promoting the drink through its annual cider and perry month, including the award for “outstanding work in the field”.
Andrea Briers, chairman of the judging committee, said the award was thoroughly deserved for the “outstanding range of quality” on offer.
She said: “It is a wonderful bar that has changed very little in 100 years with scrubbed tables and settles and not a cushion in sight.”
Regulars are said to be particularly fond of Sam’s medium and dry cider, from Winkleigh, though a range of brews, mostly around 6 per cent, are on offer and a selection of pear cider and country wines.