Demand for Thatchers' "authentic" cider prompts fresh planting

Thatchers Cider has planted 25,000 new apple trees this spring, both within existing orchards and on new land, in response to what it says is the growing demand for its ciders.

Image: Thatchers Cider
Image: Thatchers Cider

Varieties planted include Dabinett, a vintage bittersweet apple that provides richness and body, and Jonagold, a crisp sweet eating apple which it uses in the naturally cloudy Thatchers Haze.

Managing director and fourth-generation cidermaker Martin Thatcher said: "There’s a real recognition by the national supermarkets that shoppers are wanting to purchase cider brands that offer authenticity.

"It’s always an exciting time of year when many of our Myrtle Farm-based staff help out in the orchards. This spring we’ve been aided by the mild and dry weather. But with apple trees taking six or seven years to start cropping fully, and orchards lasting around 40 years, planting orchards now is a long term commitment for the future."

As well as cultivating apples in its own Somerset orchards, Thatchers has a number of long-term contracts with specialist growers across the South West and Herefordshire.

"Apples are very much like vines, in that different varieties of apples suit different soil types," Thatcher explained. "For that reason we have growers in different regions who can provide us with the specific apple varieties our cidermakers need for our different ciders."

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