From Pip to Pint – A Thatchers Cider Tour

Thatchers Cider is without a doubt a Somerset staple, but despite choosing to lay my roots in the county I don’t yet have cider running through my veins. However that’s all about to change after a 2-hour cider tour with a cider tasting that would convert even the most cider-loathing person.

Disclaimer: I was invited to participate in a guided tour as part of the Visit Bristol Summer in Bristol campaign. I was not paid for this experience, and all opinions expressed in this article are my own.

Who are Thatchers Cider?

Thatchers Cider is a common sight across the West Country (and Australia apparently), but you’ll be forgiven for any lack of comprehension of the brand. Even as someone living in a cider-loving county, where the products are as synonymous on supermarket shelves as cheese and bread, I was completely unaware of the family traditions and innovations that form the brand.

As one of the few remaining independent cider makers, their heart-warming story from pip to pint truly showcases their dedication and pride in the products they produce, which they’ve lovingly crafted for over 115 years directly on Myrtle Farm.

Although Somerset is one of the main cider-producing counties in England, Thatchers is one of the few to use their own apple orchards – with around 500 acres – rather than farming their apples abroad. With complete transparency of the varieties grown, a bottle of Thatchers Cider can always promise the highest and standardised quality.

Thatchers Cider Myrtle Farm

Thatchers Cider Tour

The family has meticulously planned each part of the plant-to-package process to produce around 50,000 canned and bottled products an hour.  During the 2-hour cider tour, you’ll be guided around the orchard and mills to learn more about the art of independent cider-making. Public tours run Wednesday to Sunday at £15 pp for a 2-hour tour with cider tasting.

Here are some of my highlights.

The Exhibition Orchard

The Exhibition Orchard pays homage to the haughty apple, preserving around 458 of the rarest apple types that may otherwise be forgotten. Some of the varieties were rescued from the Long Ashton Research Station when the agricultural and horticultural research centre closed in 2002. Besides keeping a gene stock of the apple varieties, the farm completes ‘tree trials’ to discover new flavours that may be released as limited edition flavours. In fact, both the Rose and Haze were developed this way!

The orchards are even bee-friendly with on-site bee hives managed by local beekeepers to promote effective pollination.

Exhibition orchard at Myrtle Farm


The process is truly a sight to behold with tanks holding 200,000 pints, storing the cold liquid until its ready to be fermented. At the farm, you get to see the full-circle life of the apple from the orchard, to the cleaning and pressing, to bottling and packaging. The apple pomace – the waste – is taken away to be used for clean energy. Much of the process is automated, with a keen attention-to-detail, like the technology that ensures every label is perfectly placed each and every time.

Bottles of Thatchers Gold at Thatchers Cider Myrtle Farm

The Historic Oaks Vats

Made in 1850 when Henry 8th was King, these 30ft tall oak vats still have a prime place at the farm. The largest of the 11 vats is said to hold around 135,500 pints of cider.

Historic oak vats at Myrtle Farm

The Railway Inn

The restored traditional country pub on-site at Myrtle Farm is a reason to visit itself. It’s garnered quite a reputation as a foodie hot spot for its delectable menu that uses local, high-quality produce, even using cider in some dishes. And of course, it offers the full Thatchers cider range – as well as some limited edition flavours.

Traditional cider workers at the form loved the cider so much, they were paid in cider so enjoying it with a meal is nothing new. But perhaps less known is that the Thatchers offers such a range of styles that it can be paired with many different dishes or used in recipes.

It’s recommended to stop by for a bite to eat after your tour, and be sure to ask for a recommendation on a cider to complement the dish.

The Railway Inn at Myrtle Farm

Thatchers Cider Shop

The on-site shop is open various times Tuesday to Sunday selling the all-important ciders, as well as limited editions, gifts, local cheeses and chutneys, books, cider mugs, glasses, and clothing.

Rose Cider Cans at Myrtle Farm in Somerset

The Strawberry Line

Amblers and cyclists can rejoice at knowing the farm sits on The Strawberry Line, a former railway path that is undergoing a transformation into a beautiful greenway through North and Mid-Somerset. Once completed, the path will be ‘ suitable for walkers, cyclists, wheelchair users, mobility scooters, and on some sections, equestrians’. The Railway Inn offers the perfect pit stop for those enjoying the path.

Find out more here

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