The Matthew Mack Award is presented only once every three years, and this is the first time its recipient is from the cider industry.
Presenting the award, Master of the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers Rupert Best said: "John's passion for research and innovation, particularly in the areas of orchard stewardship and orchard sustainability, has led him to be recognised as one of the country's most respected cider makers and an ambassador for the industry throughout Europe.
"He is pioneering new ways of growing cider apples, with an emphasis on protecting the environment and improving the quality of the fruit. This includes a substantial investment in the design and manufacture of new orchard management and harvesting machinery."
Thatchers Cider also claimed the Fruit Grower of the Year title at last night's Grower Awards.