Summer Brew Fest 2015

SBF & TCC logo bannerJune is upon us and that can mean only one thing… ok, actually it means two things:

1) Cider demand is growing rapidly and we’re hard at work keeping the Thistly flowing.

2) It’s festival/event season!

Of course there are events all year round where cider is welcome, but when the sun starts showing up a little more often, it’s definitely peak season. And THAT means one of our favourites is just around the corner – the rather stupendous Summer Brew Fest.

This year, from 19th-21st June, it’s in exciting association with Barworks bars and Ubrew’s radically open brewery to bring together all aspects of the beer scene in London. We’re big supporters of SBF here at Thistly and this year, we’re pretty stoked to be sharing space with Dalston Cola. You can bet there will be some experimental mixings afoot with the whole range of Thistly’s core varieties on offer!

slight curve rainbow group m15

There are loads of beery events and tastings to get involved with so head over here for tickets. Each session costs just £25 including entry, souvenir glass and 12 beer tokens, which equates to 4 pints of awesome beer/cider (don’t forget the cider!) (plus ALLTHETASTERS!). It’s a no-brainer if you ask us – if weren’t in it, we’d be at it!

sbf thistly header


Thistly Peter Does USA 2015

US Tap handles arrived! edPhew, it’s been a whirlwind couple of months at Thistly, so perfect time to catch up with Peter who is currently on his travels spreading the word about our cider in the good ole US of A! These are exciting times across the pond for us, with two huge containers crossing the Atlantic right now, filled to capacity with Whisky Cask, Real Ginger and 6.2% Traditional ciders. And to accompany them we’ve been crafting some truly bespoke wooden tap handles. Lovingly made by hand for an authentic ‘cask’ feel and look, Whisky Cask badges are now proudly attached.

Bushwacker 2 ed txtTime for the obligatory thumbs-up at America’s original cider pub, Bushwhacker in Portland, Brooklyn. Bushwhacker produce their own traditional ciders and sell a huge variety of local, national and international hard ciders. We were lucky enough to be involved with a ‘Meet The Maker’ event with our good friend and associate Bruce Wright of JK Scrumpy, and it was great to meet so many fantastic US cider fans – thanks Jeff!

Highland Stillhouse edt txt

The Highland Stillhouse also gave us a terrific welcome, thanks Mick and Tammy. And we’re looking forward to welcoming you to Scotland when you visit. The pub has a soft spot for all things Scottish, so we were certainly made to feel at home.

Peter also spent some quality time with Brewsters Fine Foods where they planned an amazing cider-matched dinner, and Cannon Beach Hardware (which is rather affectionately called Screw & Brew); well why wouldn’t you want a hardware store that combines with a PUB?!

Canon beach time capsule edWhy didn’t we think of that? They have a fab time capsule built into the wall featuring a historic Thistly bottle label which is fading beautifully with time.

And fun movie fan fact – Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach is where the Goonies emerged on to the beach from the pirate cave!

Canon Beach 2 (goonies!) ed


Great place, and a great visit – thanks to Ryan, Kimi and both Daves.

A visit to the famous Voodoo Doughnuts was also on the cards, in fact it was deemed a necessity… Its extraordinary menu really deserves a second look. Oh be still our doughnut-loving hearts.

Voodoo Donuts combined

Thanks to everyone for the amazing goodwill Peter (and Thistly!) has found in the USA – we #ciderlove you too.

Thistly’s official export crew will be continuing to tag-team their way across the States during 2015, so we want to hear from you if you’re over there. In April, we’ll be heading to Oregon, Washington, San Francisco/California along with a much-anticipated Thistly Cross Cider launch in Texas, so get in touch and let us know what YOU want to see in America from Thistly Cross Cider!


There’s A Craft Beer Rising

CBR Peter low 15 blogCraft Beer Rising (19th-22nd Feb). 3 words to strike joy into the heart of any beer (or cider) lover. And Thistly Cross Cider is now fully set-up and raring to go at The Old Truman Brewery! Here’s what we had to say about last year’s event, and you know what? It’s still true. With bells on!

2014 TCC on CBR webpage(Pic borrowed from Craft Beer Rising)

CBR is even better this year as not only does it feature 350 varieties to try, it boasts a partnership with London Beer Week (16th-22nd Feb) so you can widen your taste-bud horizons with even more venues to visit and tipples to try. CBR might be mainly about the beverages but it also has a packed programme of events, heavyweight music and fantastic street food, so we’re on a mission to track down some beer sticks and attempt a chorizo bomb whilst checking out some of the epic sets; stand up Jazzie B because we’re mainly thinking of you.

And Thistly doesn’t just have a rainbow bar-full of tasty ciders! We’ve also got a spanking new exclusive for CBR goers (wait for it)….. our Rum Barrel Cider.

CBR rum barrel 15 (def)

The brainchild of our cider maestro Peter Stuart, it’s an inspired combination, and yes, it’s as magnificent tasting as it sounds. And not just that, our mates Harviestoun will be offering a legendary Thistly Cross mash-up in three varieties including an Original Thistly Cross, one matured with raspberry, and another conditioned with plums. Yup plums. Cannot wait!

But if you want to taste the result of Thistly’s Rum Barrel or any of the other exclusive dabblings, you better get yourself over here before they almost certainly sell out.

In fact get yourself over to say hello and meet Thistly anyway as we’d love to meet you! Stay in touch with us and keep up with all the latest #craftbeerrising updates and chat from Thistly on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.


Merry Christmas Thistly lovers!

TCC lit glass dec14 xmas_edited-1 (blog)Christmas is nearly here so that means it’s mulling time! As well as introducing our own Thistly Mulled Cider in boxes for the first time, we’ve been overwhelmed by the inventiveness of some of our customers creating their own blends using lots of combinations of our cider and amazing ingredients. So we’re going with a simple recipe for the end of 2014 that allows you to create your very own bespoke mull – anything goes as long as it’s tasty!

USA mulling (Luke)Start with your choice of Thistly Cross Cider (we like around a litre for a small group of people) – if in doubt, our Real Ginger or Whisky Cask ciders make a spectacular base. Gently heat in a cider kettle or pan, and add your other ingredients. We’re loving a good dash of whisky… but rum or brandy are great additions too. Then introduce some other flavours with an orange and/or lemon studded with cloves, some spices like cardamom, ginger or warming cinnamon, and finally a good dollop of honey for added sweetness. You can also add a fruity element with cranberry or grape juice. And don’t feel left out if you’re seeking a non-alcoholic brew. Because apple juice or even our 0.5% Real Elderflower Cider make a lighter but just as good base for all your other flavours.

TCC lit glass (crop) dec14 xmas_edited-1Make sure your creation is heated through (without boiling) then strain and pour the mulled cider into a glass, cup or mug. Finish with some freshly grated nutmeg as a garnish, and if you’re feeling fancy, a fresh slice of lemon or orange. Then all you have to do is serve and enjoy!

We’re signing off for the festivities now, so Merry Thistlymas to all our fantastic customers, supporters and enthusiasts! We hope you’ll be settling down to some good food and drink on the 25th, and we’ll see you in 2015 for an exciting year ahead!



Mulling About Thanksgiving

thanksgiving bottlesHappy Thanksgiving to all our customers, especially in the USA and Canada, and to those more local, a Happy St Andrews Day for this coming Sunday.

This time of year we give thanks for the end of the harvest that has brought us lots of crisp Scottish apples to press into cider. And as we get ready for the change of season that brings us dark nights and cooling temperatures, the presses at Thistly keep flag

Which is just as well as we’re hard at work preparing lots of cider to send across to our American customers. Here we are earlier in the month loading lots of 6.2% Traditional, Whisky Cask, Ginger and Elderflower ciders into containers for shipment across the seas to slake all those US thirsts. It’s always exciting times when there’s a serious shipment coming together, especially when we know from all the enquiries and requests we get, that there are tons of Thistly lovers out there. So here it comes…. fill yer (cider) boots!

scott loading

But here’s the cool thing – we haven’t just sent you over bottled delights, we’ve also shipped you a couple of Thistly representatives in the shape of Luke and Daniel. Thistly ambassadors if you will! Over there right now, they’re working hard spreading the ciderluke usa 2 word from state to state, meeting old and new customers, and trying to expand our network of supply in conjunction with our good friends JK Scrumpy.

Make sure you say ’hi’ if you spot them on your home turf. And you can follow our burgeoning US fan-suggested lists of Thistly stockists here.

We’re also busy filling cider bags with our newest limited edition Mulled Cider which we’re proud to announce is fuelling the festive as the featured mulled cider at Edinburgh’s 2014 Christmas Markets.

crop mulled glass

The recipe of this wondrous ruby red blend may be top secret but we can tell you it’s full of spicy warming flavours with hints of clove, that still allows some sweet apple to come through. It’s tasty cold, but really sensational warm.

Somehow it tastes even better mulled bag glasswhen you’re wearing gloves and watching breaths catch in the frosty air.

Also available to order in 20L cider bags in boxes for heating wherever you want.

We’ll talk more about mulling in our next blog, which will feature our Winter 2014 recipe. Which is great for all those cider traditionalists who like to mull from scratch and create their own particular blend.

scot flagBut until then, wrap up warm, and we hope you’re enjoying some Thistly with your Thanksgiving meal!

Winter Brew Fest Mullings

winterbrewfestlogoAh Winter Brew Fest. The clocks go back, and the nights darken and then… just when we’re thinking it’s a long haul to Winter with no end in sight, you come along and brighten our weekend with your great range of beer, (our) cider, and tempting food market!

From 7th-9th Nov just a stone’s throw from Old Street Station, social drinkers will love the day sessions, round TCC logo button wbfand beer lovers can get deep in the eve as the full range of Thistly ciders will be in attendance. There will be 40+ beers on tap from cask & keg covering a massive range of styles and strengths, plus a few extra bottles here and there. Winter Brew Fest will have something to please all tastes.

BL-NK-Promo-photoSummer Brew Fest saw Thistly going down wonderfully over those balmy Southern days, so now it’s time to see what we can do in the colder months; some secret Thistly mixology may well be on the cards!

Summer Brewfest TCC barTickets available here, and if you’re Trade you can get a special discount on the Friday session by emailing ***Wanna go for nada cost? Head on over to our Twitter @thistlycross for a chance to win 2 x tickets! Winner picked Fri***

We’re off to embrace the chill with a few mulling experiments using our new fave ingredient at Thistly HQ, Woodford & Warner Sorrel, a hibiscus flower cordial.

woodford ginger blog oct14 (reduced)

We hear it’s particularly fantastic gently mixed with our warming Real Ginger Cider. Looking forward to shining the spotlight on mulled cider in our next blog post. How do you like yours?

IndyMan14 & The Manky Scot

indymanAnd breathe…. Indyman Beer Con is over for another year, and it was a real stonker.

Many beer & cider tokens were exchanged, pints pulled and fun had in the Thistly corner shared with the Real Cider Co and Moss Cider. US cider JK Scrumpy came along for the ride, and there was even talk of a mighty, mythical mixed beast made with ciders from Moss Cider and Thistly. Some called it ‘The Mix’, others preferred a ‘Manky Scot’… either way it’s part of IndyMan 2014 legend now.

indyman balloons


Big thanks to for being great hosts – we’ll miss your huge balloons!

Independent Manchester Beer Convention

indyman pic 14 badges jk w logoAnd we’re off! Indy Man Beer Con starts tomorrow, Thursday 9th October and runs until Sunday 12th at the atmospheric reinvented Victoria Baths venue in Manchester. Thistly will be there enthusiastically curating the cider bar with Moss Cider and Real Cider Company, and spreading the #ciderlove. Some events are sold out but tickets are still available. If you’re heading along make sure you say hello, and indulge in a little (or a lot) of what we have to offer. And if you really want a bit of insider knowledge as to the ‘way of Thistly’ we’ll be delivering some cider chat on Thursday, about the US market with JK Scrumpy; and Sunday sees Peter exploring the burgeoning craft cider movement in the UK.

whiskyOf course there will be Thistly a-plenty so come along and taste what wonders are being concocted on the day. All our core varieties will be there for the faithful alongside our traditional farmhouse scrumpy Jaggy Thistle; it may even be working its 7.4% magic transforming our flavours into Jaggy Tops.

Ever tried a truly modern Whisky Cask Cider matured in ex-whisky casks? Strawberry Cider made with the juice of real, hand-pressed strawberries? Or how about some Elderflower Cider made with real elderflowers? Now’s your chance cider-lovers. See you at IndyMan!

Thistly Cross’s special edition cider with Slyrs Whisky

slyrs cask & bottle 2Thistly’s special edition collaboration with Slyrs Whisky has finally made it to Bavaria! (Along with cidermaker Peter).

For the last 6 months, an extra special batch of our Whisky Cask cider has been quietly maturing in ex Slyrs whisky casks.

This process nurtures and encourages the cider’s natural characteristics, bringing all the flavours together, making them potent in the wood.

Slyrs whisky is said to be an altogether different taste experience from Scots whisky, with a milder, slightly fruitier palate. And this is definitely reflected in the final bottled blend – which is a rarefied medium dry drink. We like to think it’s a genuinely unique Scottish-Bavarian Highland classic – full of the flavours of each individual cask!

slyrs label closeup

We’ve even produced a limited edition label to celebrate.

slyrs bottle & cases 2Thistly Cross & Slyrs Whisky Cask Cider will be available at Slyrs’ Summer Festival running from 19th-20th July this weekend at their Bavarian distillery.

Free admission with lots of surprises and delicacies promised. Prost!

We’re ready for our close-up…

Ok, so we’re being extra careful not to spoiler the show for anyone who hasn’t yet caught up, BUT did you happen to notice an interestingly delicious bottled ingredient popping up on the Scottish heats of Great British Menu on BBC2? We were thrilled to see our Thistly Cross Original Still cider being used in a pork dish made by super-chef Jacqueline O’Donnell of The Sisters restaurant in Glasgow. gbm collageWe had a mysterious request for some Thistly a few months ago by a TV company, but we were sworn to secrecy so it was great to see our Original Cider making it on to the screen! Catch up (and spot some Thistly) on BBC iPlayer while the eps are available here.

When not glued to the telly or practicing for our close-up, we’ve also been busy undertaking our biggest Where To Buy update EVER on our website, with more than 600 new places for you to buy your Thistly, from Orkney to Maine… Estonia to Melbourne.estonia wtb graphic blog

Click here for the full WTB glory & lists of stockists in your neck of the woods (remember to call first before travelling any serious distance as Thistly often sells out). Big thanks to everyone who sent in their finds, and please keep them coming as it’s an ongoing resource that helps Thistly hunters worldwide get their Scottish cider fix wherever they are.

wcwhiskymonthAnd finally as we’re scooting to the end of May, which is officially #WhiskyMonth part of Homecoming Scotland’s celebration of our National drink, make sure you take full advantage of our special offer – 10% off our Whisky Cask Cider cases of 500ml bottles with code TCCwhiskymonth14 at our webstore. You want a distinctive, full-bodied drink that mingles subtle, medium dry Thistly cider with a gentle whisky flavour made potent in the oak of a Glen Moray cask? Then our 6.9% Whisky Cask Cider is for you. It’s surprisingly fruity and refreshing, without any burn. Cheers!