H. P. Bulmer
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Bulmers Cider Logo 2011
H.P. Bulmer is a cider-making company founded in 1887 in Hereford, England. The founder was Henry Percival (Percy) Bulmer, the twenty-year-old son of the local rector at Credenhill, the Reverend Charles H. Bulmer and his wife Mary. He is said to have taken his mother's advice to make a career in food or drink, "because neither ever go out of fashion". The company's two principal brands are its own Bulmers cider, which is sold worldwide, and Strongbow, which is sold across Europe, the US, Australasia and the Far East. The company is owned by Heineken International. Today, HP Bulmer makes 65% of the five hundred million litres of cider sold annually in the United Kingdom and the bulk of the UK's cider exports.
The firm's primary competitor is the Irish C&C Group and its Magners brand.
Using apples from the orchard at his father's rectory and an old stone press on the farm next door, Percy Bulmer made the first cider, upon which the family fortune would be made.
In 1889, his elder brother Fred (Edward Frederick Bulmer), coming down from King's College, Cambridge, turned down the offer of a post as tutor to the children of the King of Siam to join Percy in his fledgling cider business.
With a £1,760 loan from their father, the brothers bought an 8 acres (3.2 ha) field just outside the city and built their first cider mill. It was little more than a barn compared to the huge modern stainless-steel computer-controlled cider-making plant that has grown up on a 75 acres (30.4 ha) site nearby.
Cider-making in those early days was a hit or miss affair, the natural fermentation process being achieved by apple yeast occurring naturally in the apple; more often than not, the cider turned sour. It was a college friend of Fred's, Dr Herbert Durham, who, in the 1890s, isolated a wild yeast to create the first pure cider yeast culture, which would ensure that fermentations were consistent. This was the start of commercial cider-making.
Bulmers was first granted the Royal Warrant in 1911 and continues today as 'Cider Maker to Her Majesty the Queen'. It was incorporated as a private company on 27 June 1918. It described its cider as The White Wine of England.
Strongbow was brought in from 1960.
Shares were offered in the company on the Stock Exchange on 7 December 1970. At this point, it was the world's largest producer of cider.
In 2003, the company was bought for £278 million by Scottish and Newcastle (S&N) with the loss of some 200 jobs initially. On 25 January 2008, it was announced that S&N had been bought out for £7.8 billion by the Heineken group. Its Australia and New Zealand business interests were sold to Australian brewer Foster's. Bulmers now survives only as a brand name, with operations in Hereford scaled back considerably to principally the production of cider. Apart from the initial (mainly administrative) 200 jobs lost in 2003 after the initial S&N merger, more losses were announced in 2008 when bottling was ceased, although after the last batch of 65 job cuts it was pledged that there would be 'site production and investment of around £7.5m, including a second can line to be installed by 2011'.
During the spring of 2006, the company relaunched Bulmers Original in the UK, a premium packaged cider aimed at the "served over ice" market, which has grown in popularity over the last few years. Bulmers Original is a 4.5% ABV cider and is sold primarily in pint bottles (568 ml) but also on draught, in 1 litre bottles and in a 500 ml can. In November 2007, the Bulmers range was joined by Bulmers Pear cider and in Spring 2008 by Bulmers Light, which is the same ABV as the Original but with 30% fewer calories. However, this was delisted a year later.
Amongst the other brands produced by Bulmers is Jacques which is a 5.5% ABV cider. This is available in Fruit De Bois (cider with cherry, raspberry and blackcurrant flavours) and Jacques Orchard Fruits launched in Summer 2008.
In Summer 2010, a limited edition version of Bulmers was made, combining both apple and pear flavours in one and named 'Summer Blend'.
In Autumn 2010, another limited edition version of Bulmers was created, made using specially selected red Katy Apples which are allowed to fully ripen in the orchards before harvesting, and named "Red Apple".
In the summer of 2011, Bulmer's released the limited edition "Crisp Blend" which is made from sharper tasting apples, delivering a crisp and slightly drier flavour than the Original.
In the same summer, Bulmers rebranded themselves with a new look and new bottles. In reference to the Bulmers naming tradition dating back to the early 1900s (at the time these were Bulmers 1 through to 8) they also number-coded the different varieties with Original as №9, Pear as №10 and Crisp Blend as "№15". At the same time a new flavour was brought out, named №17, which is made with the addition of crushed red berries and lime.
It is based off the A438 in the west of Hereford, directly south of Hereford Racecourse. The site covers around 95 acres. It has a cider factory and once contained a pectin factory. It used to be the main provider of pectin in the UK.
Apples for the cider are grown in England and France. In 2014 it was reported that Bulmers takes 90 percent of its apples from orchards in Herefordshire.
- Bulmers Original Cider
- Bulmers Pear Cider
- Bulmers Crisp Blend Ltd Edition Cider
- Bulmers Nº17 Red Berries and Lime Cider
- Bulmers Nº 19 Bold Black Cherry Cider
- Bulmers Nº 20 Pressed Red Grape Cider
- Scrumpy Jack
- Woodpecker Cider
- Jacques Cider with fruit
- "Bulmers – How It All Began". Herefordshire County Council. Retrieved 29 September 2007.
- "HP Bulmer Company History". HP Bulmer Ltd. Retrieved 27 April 2010.[dead link]
- Treanor, Jill (29 April 2003). "£278m Bulmers buy completes S&N u-turn". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Carlsberg, Heineken Agree to Buy Scottish & Newcastle (Update7)". Bloomberg. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Bulmers cider announces job cuts". BBC News. 16 December 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Bulmers cider firm cuts 65 jobs". BBC News. 13 October 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Bulmers limited edition Red Apple cider" Talking Retail 11 October 2010 Retrieved 16 November 2010
- "BULMERS INTRODUCES NEW LIMITED EDITION CRISP BLEND CIDER" Food & Drink Innovation Network February 21st, 2011 Retrieved 10 July 2011
- de Bruxelles, Simon (27 March 2014). "Cider drought feared after orchard floods". The Times. Retrieved 27 March 2014.