Martin Thatcher: fruit cider growth will slow

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Family business: Martin Thatcher is the the fourth generation cider maker at Thatchers
Family business: Martin Thatcher is the the fourth generation cider maker at Thatchers
Thatchers cider MD and fourth generation cider marker Martin Thatcher has predicted a slower growth awaits the fruit cider sector.

In an interview with The Morning Advertiser​, Thatcher outlined how the rise of consumers demanding to know the history of brands and the rising importance of heritage has benefited the cider business.

He said: “Consumers trust smaller, local, family businesses over big businesses – which means we are in a great position.

“There’s a place in the market for fruit and apple, and apple is growing steadily. I predict the cider category will continue to grow – particularly apple – while fruit percentage of growth will slow.”

Next big project

When it comes to how the business is faring, Thatcher revealed plans for the future, including introducing a new process of cider making.

He added: “The past year has been challenging with the enormously busy summer and no CO2, but we got through it. We are in a great place at the moment. We have invested a lot of money into things we needed to do such as canning. [We have a new] fermentation system now – we have done so many things to make it amazing.

“My next big project is looking at how we look after people on-site. We have also been working on doing a little pilot plant where we have been making cider with the Champagne method.

“The reason for this is so everyone can see how cider is made. You can get people to press the apples and go through the whole process [when they come to visit us at the farm].”

Craft beer

Thatcher also claimed the craft beer market trend of canning hasn’t quite hit the cider market yet but there were other opportunities when it comes to packaging for the apple-based drink.

He added: “Craft beer seems to have gone into cans in pubs but we haven’t seen this in the same way for cider so I’m not sure cans are going to be a big thing for cider but, bottles could be.”

Meanwhile, Thatchers launched a 500ml bottle rosé cider​ in January this year, in a bid to provide innovation in the back fridge in the on-trade.

Using a blend of naturally sweet, red dessert apples, including Pink Lady, Fuji and Gala, Thatchers Rosé is a sparkling Somerset cider.

The 4% ABV cider was introduced to the market in a 440ml can at the end of 2018 before the recent switch to a bottled format.

Related topics: Cider

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