Thistly Cross expand with second production site

Thistly Cross Cider boss Peter Stuart. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Thistly Cross Cider boss Peter Stuart. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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A CIDERMAKER in the Lothians has expanded by opening a second plant just a mile down the road from its headquarters.

Dunbar-based Thistly Cross Cider said increasing demand had prompted the launch of a new cidershed in the East Lothian village of West Barns.

It’s fantastic to be able to add to the strong tradition of alcohol production in Lothian”

PETER STUART

The company said the new site – an old steading featuring storage and production facilities as well as three new chiller tanks – would allow it to increase its capacity sevenfold and comes after it ­celebrated its most successful year yet.

Peter Stuart, head cidermaker, said: “I’m thrilled that Thistly is opening our new cidershed.

“We’ve had such a big demand for our cider this year and it’s fantastic to know we’re going to continue to be able to meet this.

“We still care very much about making a high-quality product made from good ingredients.

“Small-batch cidermaking is at the core of Thistly’s philosophy.”

The move took place at the start of the year, with production now under way at the new premises, where the buildings have a history dating back to the 1700s.

East Lothian is home to some of the oldest farm steadings in the world and, back in 1798, the site was used to produce Scotch whisky and, later, to brew beer.

Thistly Cross is slowly rebuilding the West Barns steading, and plans to add a pressing room and tasting room, in addition to the fermentation and blending rooms already in operation.

Mr Stuart said: “It’s fantastic to be able to add to the strong tradition of alcohol production in the heart of East Lothian, and our new location is steeped in heritage.

“We can’t wait to contribute to the area’s rich history. When it comes to booze, Scotland is the best brand in the world and Thistly is heading that way with cider.”

Last year, the company teamed up with Tempest Brewing to create a so-called “craft snakebite”.

The snakebite is known officially as Saison Cider with Blackcurrants and was the latest in a string of collaborations between the companies.

The company once ran into trouble after it was hit with a bizarre tax bill for making wine. Bosses revealed they could have been forced out of business by the taxman, who decided the firm was actually making wine instead of cider.

Inspectors ruled the whisky casks it used in the brewing process flavoured the drink, turning it into a “made wine”.

The move would have cost Thistly Cross thousands of pounds in back-dated taxes.

However, Mr Stuart revealed the dispute with the taxman had ended amicably.

newsen@edinburghnews.com