The Thatcher family is a true picture book family: Four generations join forces to produce the popular cider and are involved in every step from the apple tree to the finished drink.
Cider has been made at Myrtle Farm in Sandford for more than 100 years. Initially, the apples were pressed with a mechanical press and a lot of muscle power, later a hydraulic press made the hard work easier. As a second mainstay, cattle were kept until 1984. Ultimately, however, it was decided to put all cards on the cider. What the farm has kept to this day are the huge wooden kettles in which the cider matures to its fruity splendor. The barrels are made of oak and were made more than 150 years ago. They give the cider its very special character and are the pride of the Thatcher family. The production process has changed and modernized significantly since the beginning, but the recipe is a well-guarded family recipe based on the second cider brewer Stanley Thatcher. In a hundred years, Thatcher cider manufactory has grown again and again: the apple orchards kept growing, the cider gained international attention and was even named the best cider in the world in 2017. And the future looks bright! Eleanor Thatcher got her tractor driver's license at the age of 16 and is an active part of the cider production.
Myrtle Farm is idyllically located at the foot of the Mendip Hills. As far as the eye can see, apple orchards stretch across the hilly country and are a true paradise for people and animals. In addition to commercial cultivation, there is an orchard that is used solely to research and preserve rare, exceptional and delicious apple varieties. John Thatcher has collected and planted more than 450 different apple tree varieties over the years. In order to constantly improve their cider and develop new, innovative varieties, the Thatchers are always on the lookout for tasty apple varieties. The plantations cover an incredible 500 acres. The farm's own bees ensure the rich harvest. There are beehives everywhere in the orchards, during the flowering period there is a lot of activity around the apple trees and the air is filled with a majestic hum. Wildflower fields are sown to attract other insects such as bumblebees. It takes an average of seven years for an apple tree to bear fruit. Every tree requires care all year round: Sufficient water, nutrients and professional pruning ensure that the tree can bear fruit for around 40 years. In order to meet the high demand and to support the small farmers in the area, the Thatchers buy fruit from their neighboring farms in addition to their own apples.
There is a lot of craftsmanship, love and of course good apples in Thatcher's Cider!