|Location||Sandford, Somerset, England|
The company started producing cider in 1904 and has continued in the same family since. They use several varieties of apples to make different brands, and also process other fruit to make perry.
The founder, William Thatcher, first started making cider for his own farm workers in 1904. His son Stanley Thatcher, born in 1910, began selling draught cider to pubs in Somerset and the company’s presence in the area grew. The company is still family owned and employs around 75 people. The current managing director is Martin Thatcher, which is the fourth generation in the family to run the business.
It has 360 acres of its own orchard in Somerset, as well as using apples from other growers in the area. Alongside its bush orchards, Thatchers has pioneered a method of growing its apple trees in a hedgerow style. Trained on wires, this enables easier harvesting and also helps to ensure the fruit has the optimum combination of sunlight and rain. It has also led to the development of a new bespoke harvester. Over 25,000 tonnes of fruit are pressed each year. Thatchers also maintains a special exhibition orchard in which over 500 different varieties of apple tree are grown. Many of the traditional ciders produced at Myrtle Farm are matured in 100-year-old oak vats, which gives the cider a distinctive taste.
There are several brands of Thatchers cider. These are categorised by the brewers as:
- Single Varietal Cider, where only one type of apple is used. Examples have included Cox's, Katy, Thatchers Rosé, Somerset Redstreak, Dabinett and Tremletts Bitter, many of which were old Somerset varieties.
- Premium, including Thatchers Gold, Green Goblin, Thatchers Vintage and Old Rascal. Thatchers Vintage is made from the best apples from each harvest
- Fruit and Pear, including Thatchers Pear and Mixed Fruit.
- Draught Ciders, sold in pubs in Thatchers West Country heartland, as well as increasingly throughout the UK.
- Ciders available on draught include Traditional, Heritage, Cheddar Valley, Gold, Green Goblin, Old Rascal and Pear.
- Traditional Bottled Ciders, such as Gold, Premium Press and White Magic.
- Bottled Scrumpy, such as Mendip Scrumpy, Old Rascal and Somerset Draught (sold in jugs and bottles) can be hazy or clear, and are made from the pure juice of apples. Mendip Scrumpy is now available in supermarkets in a 2l bottle. It is cloudy, has a sediment and is quite dry.
- Draught Scrumpy. Heritage and Traditional are hazy, or cloudy ciders. There is also Cheddar Valley cider, which is cloudy with a distinctive orange, almost red, colouration. These rough ciders have a short shelf life and are generally tapped straight from a barrel kept in a pub's bar rather than its cellar.
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