Chatting About Apples

Earlier this week I sat down with Martin Thatcher, the Managing Director of his family’s company, Thatchers Cider. He stopped in New York on his way from his home in U.K. to Chicago, where he was scheduled to give a keynote at CiderCon.

His company, which has been making cider for 111 years, recently introduced Thatchers Gold into the U.S. market through a partnership with Innis & Gunn. So I wanted to find out what makes his imported cider different from those made in the U.S., as well as what Thatchers’ plan is to expand stateside.

Here are a few notes on what makes Thatchers different from my meeting with Martin:

  • The cider is created from a blend of multiple year’s harvests, as well as different varieties and categories of apples. Different strains of yeast are also used in different ciders to create the flavors the company is looking for.
  • The cider is matured in 150-year old vats, which contain a micro flora that gives it the “Thatchers” taste.
  • The low acidity of the cider makes it very sessionable compared to sweeter, stronger domestic ciders.
  • Other ciders in the portfolio that aren’t currently available in the U.S. include Vintage (7.5% ABV), Rose Cider, Old Rascal (high in tannins) and Green Goblin (a “quirky brand” according to Martin).

Martin believes the U.S. cider market, if it continues its rapid growth, could be the largest cider market in the world within a few years. He’s also encouraged, rather than threatened, by the surge in new cider makers entering the market. He believes more brands will only increase the visibility of the category in the marketplace, which will help increase sales for all cider brands, imported and domestic.

 

NOTE: For more of our conversation with Martin Thatcher, check out the March/April edition of Beverage Dynamics.

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