A dozen members turned out on a dry, if threatening, morning for our visit to Thatcher’s Cider Farm & Factory, as suggested by Mike & Judy French.
We were welcomed by Martin Thatcher and our guide, Rob Hill, as we commandeered the lawn for parking the Astons:
V8 Oscar India (John & Julie Gardner), DBS (Peter Rogers), DB4 (Bob Carter), DB9 (Mike & Judy French), DB7 Vantage Volante (Andrew & Gillian Fawkes) and V8 Vantage (Chris Borrison)
A quick change into hi-vis gear and then we were off for a fascinating 90 minutes amongst the hi-tech machinery that has enabled Thatcher’s Cider to increase production rapidly as their market has grown dramatically. The business was founded by William Thatcher in 1904 and remains a family-owned and run concern that’s proud of its Somerset heritage.
Their cider is made up of over 90% apple juice (compared to the minimum legal requirement of 38% that is adhered to by some other brands). Thatcher’s orchards are both nearby (where they created the famous ‘Katy’ apple) and further afield. Their farm includes an ‘exhibition orchard’ where all 458 know varieties of apple are grown!
Last season, the factory processed 48,000 tons of apples. It then takes only 8 days to ferment 1.6 million litres of cider for bottling, canning or filling kegs... a process that continues all year round. However, it’s not all hi-tech. The 150 year old vats are still employed for their specialist ciders that take 8 weeks to mature. They are bottled only after their team of professional tasters allow them to be released. That’s a job that apparently has a waiting list!
The watchwords for Thatcher’s are Quality and Growth…. a mantra we like to apply to our chosen car brand!
The tour was a great success, followed by a lovely lunch in the on-site pub/restaurant, The Railway Inn. Both are well worth a visit if you haven’t been before… as is a tasting of the cider choices!
Thanks again Rob.
L-R: John & Julie Gardner, Peter Rogers, Willow, Bob Carter, Hugh Williams, Mike & Judy French, Gillian Fawkes, John Simcock, Andrew Fawkes and Chris Borrison.