Questers Group Visit to Thatchers Cider Mill

This proved to be a most interesting and enjoyable visit, although the generous inclusive tastings of some of the many ciders produced on site certainly helped provide a feel-good element to the day!

We arrived in plenty of time to commence our guided tour with the ever-informative Sally at 11.00. Our visit coincided with the busy period of main crop cider apples, and there were three large loads awaiting processing at the crushing mill. It is at harvest time that the mill is busy, processing all the apples into juice which goes into extended storage, with the residue sold on for cattle food.
They make cider all the year round, blending different apple varieties to produce the desired flavour. Depending upon the weather, apple flavours can vary sufficiently to require different proportions of each type to produce a consistent taste over the years. Over time tastes change, and Thatchers are constantly innovating. They make three or four unique new blends each year which are test marketed over the bar at the company owned on site Railway Inn.
Thatchers are the largest independent cider manufacturer in the UK, and are second only to Strongbow (owned by Heineken) in total sales. The company is a real success story and has grown its turnover under the present father & son (fourth generation Thatchers) from £2 million to £138million during the past 20 years. We noticed new and extensive investment all around us during this tour which was completed with an excellent meal at the Railway Inn (and more cider).

Ron Bryan (on behalf of Norma who was unable to attend)

Posted in Questers Group.