A Lothians-based cider maker is using its commercial expertise to help a US producer launch its own organic brand in the UK.
Following the success of its recent crowd-sourced apple appeal, in which it appealed for people to donate their unwanted Scottish apples, Thistly Cross in Dunbar is now working to help bring JK’s Scrumpy Craft Cider in cans to the British market.
Thanks to the collaboration, the cans are set to hit the shelves later this month (October 2015) in a move which is the fruit of a longstanding relationship between the two cider companies.
According to Thistly Cross, they not only share a passion and dedication to cider making, but an important aspect of the collaboration for both cider producers is the concept of farmers helping farmers.
Head cider maker at Thistly Cross Peter Stuart said: “Although both farms are separated by more than 3,500 miles, it was clear from the start that the companies shared the same values and goals.
“Both are innovative companies, making great tasting ciders from natural ingredients and with strong links to their respective local communities. Working together was a logical step to take!”
Throughout the transatlantic friendship, Thistly Cross Cider has achieved distribution in more than 40 US states, in keg and bottle formats, and has employed two US cider ambassadors to manage overseas development.
Five of Thistly Cross’s seven award-winning ciders have earned pride of place in America’s first dedicated ciderhouse, Bushwacker Cider, and the US is Thistly’s top international market, with sales in the country doubling in the past year.
US cider ambassador Luke Fenton said: “We have discovered that the best way to make cider is by making friends and we now have many good friends stateside, who love who we are and what we do. By bringing J.K.’s Scrumpy to the UK, we hope to return the favour and introduce UK craft drinkers to the American take on cider.”
Cider is the fastest growing drinks sector in the USA and hard cider has been regarded as the second most popular craft genre after IPA.
Thistly Cross will be distributing J.K.’s Scrumpy Hard Cider and Northern Neighbour varieties, alongside its own range of award-winning craft cider.
The US cider will be sold in cans, which are increasingly being used by craft breweries in the UK, capturing and maintaining more flavour than bottled counterparts.