Family owned since 1904, Thatchers’ roots remain firmly in heritage, family values, expertise and a passion for quality.
The knowledge and passion which Thatchers crafts into its ciders mean that it has been able to bring the delights of heritage apple cider to lovers of traditional cider, as well as to those who have been introduced to cider through sweeter, fruit ciders.
All Thatchers Ciders are 100% gluten free, making them suitable for coeliacs and those with a gluten intolerance. They are also all suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Know your apples
Thatchers produces ciders which are authentic, full of flavour and with a distinct character to reflect English cider-making at its best.
What sets Thatchers apart from other cider makers is its deep and extensive knowledge of apple varieties, the characteristics of these apples and how each contributes to a particular cider.
The Dabinett apple, a traditional bittersweet variety, brings a smooth, lasting flavour; Tremlett’s is used for its tannins; Somerset Redstreak, another West Country favourite, brings peppery notes.
It’s not just bittersweet apples which Thatchers uses – culinary and dessert apples are an important part too. The Katy apple, one of Thatchers’ favourites, brings soft fruitiness, while the Falstaff apple brings a light, fruity aroma.
Thatchers Cider’s pride and joy is to be found in its 150-year-old giant oak vats, where thousands of gallons of Somerset cider are matured.
The family cider maker has 11 oak vats – each one holding around 120,000 pints of cider.
Constructed of three-inch-thick oak staves, each vat is over 30ft tall, with its own distinctive character. Each of the vats was built by Carty and Sons of London, dating from the 1840s. In fact, the English oak trees used to build these vats were probably growing in the early 1700s, if not before.
While the cider is held in the vats, usually for around six weeks, the oak softens and rounds the flavours, allowing the apple characteristics to shine through. Every day, Thatchers’ cider makers taste each vat’s cider to judge whether it’s ready for the next step of its journey – if it’s not, it’s left to mature a little longer.
Martin Thatcher, fourth-generation cider maker says: “These oak vats are a part of our heritage and we’re one of only a very small number of cider makers to have such wonderful assets. They help to give our ciders their distinctive, smooth character. Its goes without saying that we take the greatest care in their upkeep, as this is all about having the greatest respect for our history and the traditional skills which are so important.”
Thatchers Cider master cider maker Richard Johnson tastes the cider from the oak vats.
It simply doesn’t leave until it’s ready.
Every Friday at 12.30, the cider makers at Thatchers Cider in Somerset gather around their historic oak vats and taste the cider slowly and gently maturing within.
Only when the cider makers say the cider is ready does it leave the vats for the next step on its journey.
“Here at Thatchers, we take the art of cider-making seriously every step of the way, and our Friday tasting, in particular, has become somewhat legendary,” says managing director Martin Thatcher. “Our cider makers know exactly when each vat of cider is ready – there’s no science to tell us – it’s all down to taste and experience.
“We value our tastings so much that we made them the focal point of our current TV commercial, Time Stops, demonstrating the authenticity of our brand and our dedication to the art of cider-making, great taste and perfection.”