Westons cider mill has received £15m in investment for infrastructure over the past four years. This week, The Morning Advertiser headed to Herefordshire to visit the company’s cider mill and orchards.
The family-owned cider-making business was founded by Henry Weston in 1878 and has been producing cider on a commercial basis since 1880.
Westons Cider now employs more than 200 people, produces over 30 different ciders and perries and has a turnover in excess of £58m. This week, the company has unveiled a new-look logo and corporate business strategy, which will be rolled out from the end of October.
Some 90% of the apples used in Westons cider brands, which include Stowford Press and Mortimer’s Orchard, are sourced from orchards within a 40-mile radius of the Much Marcle site. About 15% of these apples are from the company’s own orchards on-site.
Growth target set
Westons has recently received a large-scale investment which will enable it to grow its business by 40% by 2023. Part of this investment consists of a £15m spend on infrastructure and capacity improvements including planting 1,200 acres of orchards, purchasing a new bottling line and increasing storage capacity.
The company also owns the largest quantity of oak vats of any cider producer in the UK, in which its cider is aged for between three and 18 months.
Westons' three long-term business goals are focused on: building the business; funding the future; and “creating a culture” around cider production. This involves innovating using traditional cider-making techniques and committing to leading in organic cider making.
Exporting to 40 countries
Speaking about the £15m investment in capital, commercial director Geoff Bradman told The Morning Advertiser: “The industry is moving at such a pace that if you stand still, you’ll end up going backwards. We have to keep going forwards and that is what this investment is about.”
Bradman also confirmed that there would be further investment going forwards, and pointed to Westons recent purchase of 6,000 new kegs at a cost of £70 per keg as an example of "turning the tap on".
Westons brands are currently exported to more than 40 countries around the world, and its target markets for international growth are Germany, Scandinavia, The Baltics, Canada, Australia and North America.
Responding to the growing demand for other fruit flavoured ciders, Westons launched a berry flavour under its super premium Mortimer’s Orchard brand in May of this year.