Did you know that some of the UK's most popualr ciders are made just outside of Bristol on a family-run orchard?  We asked the team at Thatchers Cider to talk us through the history of the company, from humble roots on a Somerset farm to having the top-selling ciders in the South West!

Cider is a particular favourite here in the West Country. The cider apple orchards that are a familiar sight across the region benefit from the milder climates and rich soil to be found here. Here's another fact for you: more people buy a pint of Thatchers Gold here in the South West than any other draught beer or lager!

Person holding bottle of Thatchers Gold cider - credit Thatchers Cider
Image - Thatchers Gold

Four generations ago – at the turn of the 20th century -  the Thatcher family started to make cider at its Sandford farm. Like many other farmers, William Thatcher grew apple trees and made the West country’s favourite tipple not just to enjoy himself, but to give to his farm workers as reward for a hard day’s work.

The cider made at Myrtle Farm began to grow in popularity. Second generation Stan continued in his father’s footsteps, and had a real passion for crafting traditional cider in oak barrels. He had real entrepreneurial flair, creating a shop and selling to the local communities. That’s why the cidermaker’s traditional range takes his name today.

Man harvesting apples at the Thatchers Cider orchard in Myrtle Farm, near Bristol - credit Thatchers Cider
Image - Cider orchards at Myrtle Farm

John Thatcher followed, and he, together with son Martin, really began to make Thatchers a household name. John, who although now retired is still a familiar face around the farm, and is well known for his passion for apples, and his innovative approach to orcharding. There’s not many people in the country who know more about growing apples than John does!

In 1992, Martin took over the reins as managing director, and while his father focussed on growing the apples, he began to introduce new styles of cider for today’s ever-changing market, and as a result, began to turn Thatchers into a household name.

Pouring pint of Rascal cider - credit Thatchers Cider
Image - Thatchers Rascal

Now, the family’s  fifth generation, Eleanor and Peter, are playing their part in producing cider for a new generation. With the same pride in the company’s heritage, and a passion for quality at the heart of everything they do, Thatchers is now at the forefront of cider making in the UK.

On a visit to Myrtle Farm you can pay a visit to Thatchers own pub, The Railway Inn. Here you’ll find the full range of ciders produced by Thatchers – such as Thatchers Gold with its juicy, apple flavours; Thatchers Haze, the UK’s best-selling cloudy apple cider; Thatchers Blood Orange, bursting with natural blood orange flavour; and the award-winning alcohol-free cider, Zero.

You can also pick up bottles and cans (or refills from their large cider barrels!) from the Thatchers Cider shop next door to the pub.

Exterior of the Railway Inn at Thatchers Cider HQ in Sandford, near Bristol - credit Thatchers
Image - The Railway Inn in Sandford

Thatchers now have a vision to create sustainable, great tasting cider for generations to come. With that comes a responsibility for the environment around us, so they're prioritising reducing their carbon footprint and supporting communities.

Only the best will do, so you know that with each glass of Thatchers the quality is the same, every time, made with the same love and hands-on experience by the cider makers at Myrtle Farm.

You can experience life at Thatchers by booking on a guided tour of the orchard and factory. You can also visit the Thatchers Cider Shop, and The Railway Inn – please check its website for opening times.

Tour group next to cider barrels at Myrtle Farm, near Bristol - credit Thatchers Cider
Image - Tours at Thatchers Cider

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