Thatchers Cider is gearing up to press more apples in its mill at Myrtle Farm than ever before in one season. The hot weather has resulted in a quality harvest with apples that are full of flavour, sweetness and tannin – just right for cidermaking.
Thatchers has 500 acres of its own orchard in Somerset as well as 25-year contracts with growers throughout the West Country who provide selected varieties for the Thatchers range.
Thatchers is continuing to invest for quality and growth and over recent years has continued to plant more orchards. The family run company believes in the apple as the core ingredient of cider, and is dedicated to growing the highest quality fruit, for the highest quality cider. Planting orchards therefore remains a top priority – over the last five years planting upwards of 150,000 trees in and around its Somerset farm.
“As a cidermaker we need traditional bittersweet apple varieties to bring the tannins and depth of flavour to our ciders, while certain varieties of dessert apples – such as our favourite Katy, add extra freshness and sweetness where needed,” explains Martin Thatcher.
Thatchers is one of the only cidermakers in the UK to carry out trials of new apple varieties in its orchards, as well as the continued development of its acclaimed exhibition orchard, which is home to probably the largest collection of apples for cidermaking in the UK – over 458 different varieties.
This investment in its orchards allows Thatchers to maintain its development of new ciders and create new styles to meet changing tastes.
Thanks to the success of its range, led by Thatchers Gold – now available across the UK as well as in over 22 countries worldwide – Thatchers will be pressing at its maximum capacity during this year’s harvest, accepting 450 tonnes of fruit each day at the height of the season.
This year Thatchers has sold a record number of pints – topping 135 million pints for the first time.
Martin Thatcher puts this growth firmly down to quality. “Over the last few years we have been investing on average £10m each year into Myrtle Farm to ensure that all our ciders and packaging reach a consistently high quality. At the end of the day, people want to be assured that the pint of Gold they buy locally tastes just as good whenever and wherever they buy it.
“Demand for our ciders means that we will be welcoming a record number of apples into Myrtle Farm over the next few months.”
“We favour a mix of traditional bittersweet cider apples and dessert apples for our ciders and we grow 30 different varieties including traditional West Country bittersweets such as Dabinett, Tremlett’s Bitter and Somerset Redstreak.”