C&C Group closing cider mill in Shepton Mallet

Shepton Mallet Cider Mill, the Somerset plant that produces the Blackthorn and Olde English brands, is to cease cider production after nearly 250 years with the loss of more than 120 jobs. Owner C&C Group will move production to its Magners plant in Ireland in summer, but has said it will still source apples from local farmers, thought to number around 70, and pulp them locally.

Image: Morguefile
Image: Morguefile

Workers said they only learnt about the planned closure from media reports, a situation described by the Unite union as "disgraceful, discourteous and Dickensian". Its regional co-ordinating officer Steve Preddy said: "This is a grievous blow to the workforce, their families, the town and the Somerset economy. We will be seeking an urgent meeting with the management for the reasons."

Dublin-based C&C said the closure of the Shepton Mallet plant, as well as another in Co Tipperary, had been "a difficult decision for the group and it is sad that the consolidation of production at the Clonmel site is the only viable option to maintain long term competitiveness".

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