Thursday, 19 June 2014

5 Questions - Thistly Cross Cider

A couple of years ago I attended a fantastic food event 'feastRen' that had been organised by East Renfrewshire Council. The showpiece of the event was a 'Meet the Producers' market that was sponsored by Whole Foods Market Giffnock. The market was attended by a host of independent producers from across Scotland who already sold their products within the nearby branch of Whole Foods Market, including Thistly Cross Cider - an East Lothian based cider producer who make traditional and cleverly flavoured ciders.
Thistly Cross Cider is produced on South Belton Farm by Peter Stuart and Ian Rennie who have seen their business grow from selling their cider at farmers markets to a business that now has bottles of their wonderful ciders stocked on supermarket shelves across the country. In addition to a growing UK market, Thistly Cross Cider is also being enjoyed all over the world thanks to distribution agents doing their bit to make sure that cider drinkers in the four corners of the world can get their hands on a bottle or two of delicious Thistly Cross Cider.
Here's Thistly Cross Cider's story;
How did you get started?
I first became interested in cider-making living in the Scottish Borders. At the time, there was a strong community of artists, small-holders and established Farming folk dedicated to working hard and putting to good use everything they could get their hands on including local apples! That interest led to meeting up with farmer, Ian Rennie and establishing Thistly Cross in 2008. We started selling our ciders and learning our craft through farmers markets and that early work paid off as word-of-mouth spread and we honed the Thistly Cross selection. This all helped us to establish Thistly’s reputation throughout Scotland and, I am now proud to say, to make a range of ciders that people genuinely rave about.
What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?
Risk everything with every step.
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
I’d love to see Thistly Cross achieve its full potential within an exciting and dynamic UK Drinks Industry.
If you could only use one of your products, what would it be & why?
I would drink Whisky Cask Cider all day and every day. Each batch is unique, depending on the provenance of the cask so the flavour possibilities are endless. And at the end of the day, nothing is wasted - the empties are put to good use around the Farm!
You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
If I had to sit down to my last meal, it would be a bit of a long drawn out affair with lots of food and drink. I’d love to be able to share it with my wife, family and friends, from Thistly and elsewhere, but we would definitely be in need of some good music to accompany the feasting: on that basis, Jimi Hendrix would be an excellent dinner companion.
As the centre piece, I’d like to prepare and eat a whole heather and honey fed Highland cow, slowly hot smoked with apple wood in an American style BBQ. And once the feast was over, we could all kick back with a few whiskies and discuss with Jimi what was next, beyond the stars.
Myself and Nicola both huge fans of the ciders that Thistly Cross are producing, with the Real Ginger Cider being both our favourites. That said, I really enjoy the Whisky Cask Cider which packs a bit of a punch and is also great as a recipe ingredient with pork. With Summer now making a little appearance, why not pick a bottle or two up from your local supermarket or easier still - place your order online and have it send direct to your door!
Keep up to date with Thistly Cross Cider on Facebook and Twitter.


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