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!

Summer’s On Its Way #applewatch

app blsosomCider demand has started to increase so we KNOW Summer is on the way. It’s a FACT. Although looking at the foggy skies today it still seems a little distant. But as we dream of a sunny cider in the garden, there’s just no denying the apple blossom that’s beginning to creep out on the branches as the weather elder gdngets a little warmer. #Applewatch is officially on!

Thistly is proud to use as many local apples as it can get its hands on so whether you’ve got big or small orchards, bear us in mind when they’re eventually full of fruit.

Over the last few months the Thistly cider press has been red hot, due to lots of orders and new retailers across the UK, and further afield including Estonia and the USA. Shipments have also been heading off to Holland and Australia.

Here’s a snap by Gan Teck Kar of Thistly being introduced to Singapore . Gan Tek photo 2

So it’s the perfect time for a massive update to our website Where To Buy lists. We’re busy adding new locations and fan-suggested retailers. Remember, if you’ve found our cider anywhere that’s not on our lists, please drop us a quick line. We’ll add the details to help Thistly hunters worldwide find the best cider there is in our opinion, and pop your name beside it too so you can get the kudos (we don’t have to name you if you’re feeling a little shy). And while we’re at it (if you haven’t already) it’s definitely time to get your link on and join our Thistly community on Facebook, Twitter, find us on Instagram as @Thistlycrosscider, and Pinterest. Chock-full of fellow Thistly lovers sharing and enjoying cidery inspiration. Join us. We might get badges soon. Badges are cool.

vsphotoWe’ve also linked up with a VisitScotland competition, so you may see some of our bottles smartly dressed in their competition neck collars.

There are competition links here too on the website, but no need to click… unless you want to win a luxury break to St Andrews that is!

The prize includes lots of good stuff: Gold Season Passes for Knockhill Racing Circuit, land-yachting on the famous ‘Chariots of Fire’ beach and use of a classic camper van.(g) vs bottles

Out on the road, we had a blast at Craft Beer Rising, and have been encouraging the #ciderlove far and wide with lashings of Thistly tastings and guest appearances, most recently at Climpson’s Arch in Hackney, The Font in Chorlton, and Bow Bar in our home city of Edinburgh. Too many events to list here but we try to get as many as we can up on Twitter or  Facebook.

Let us know if your apple trees are flowering yet, or even better, send us a snap (or a link to one).

Call to attention – everyone on #applewatch this year!

Craft Beer Rising

cbr grab 1

After a massively successful inaugural outing last year, Craft Beer Rising is back! And since there’s nothing we like more than supporting an event that celebrates brewers of vision and real integrity, we’ve christened our CBR Thistly-stuffed juggernaut with Thistlycbr christen Cross Whisky Cask, and we’re on our way!

The CBR experience kicks-off on 21st Feb at the Old Truman Brewery in London, and is the perfect place for beer innovators, cider enjoyers and foodie creatives, whether expert or curious, young or old, male or female. It’s trade-fun only on the Friday, but Sat and Sunday are open to all so grab your beer tokens and get ready to fill your free glass with some good stuff!

map cbrRunning until Sun 23rd Feb, the weekend is packed full of amazing beer (and cider of course), music and street food. Showcasing some of the world’s finest brews and reflecting the best in experimental and established brewing, it’s sure to be unmissable. There are hardly any tickets left, but you can still grab a few here for Sunday. Be quick though as last year’s event was a complete and deserved sell-out.


Six spacious rooms will buzz with the heady delights of hundreds of alcoholic beverages from an extraordinary range of brewers and breweries, alongside stomping sets by the legendary Mr Scruff, and Reverend And The Makers.

Not only that, there will be discovery beers from across the globe, fascinating beer talks, and taste-matching to keep you thinking whilst drinking. As well as stunning eats ranging from British charcuterie  to inventive veg eats; Burger Bear burgers are surely a must-try with a one-off version of their stonking bacon jam.

sbkegcbr_edited-1And of course Thistly will be there with all its core varieties for your delectation, alongside some adventurous ideas about mixing your perfect cider pint. If you have been one of the lucky early-birds who bagged a lust-worthy ticket, then you can count yourself extra blessed as CBR sees the last of our current batch of Snakebite & Black available on draught.

It’s been a popular collaboration so it’s sure to wriggle off fast as a sidewinder until the stocks finally run out.

Lots more information here and here.


Thistly Cross 2014


By now we hope you’ve recovered from all those excesses of Christmas, and abandoned any unattainable resolutions. We have two main suggestions for 2014 – enjoy Thistly Cross Cider, and be happy – easy to aim for and both guaranteed to make life better.

We’ve got lots of exciting plans for the year ahead, but right now we’re still catching our breath after our best December so far. Some producers might think about slowing down and tucking up cosy in Winter, but not us. Production continues through all the chilly months, as cider is thankfully now enjoyed the year-round – Thistly is for life not just for Summer!

whisky label on grass

Right now we’re embracing the toasty glow of Winter Warmers like our Whisky Cask, Original 7.2% and Real Ginger. And it’s not just us – in a completely unscientific survey of our Facebook fans, Whisky Cask emerged victorious, so whether you’re mulling or not, Thistly is perfect fuel for frosty days.

In the cider shed, tanks are being cleaned; bottles, kegs and PETainers are being filled, and new batches of cider from all those local apples we received in the Summer and Autumn (thank-you!) are maturing nicely. Which is just as well as we’ll soon be announcing details of a new flavour heading to the States for 2014… more next blog.

lan is packing for a trade mission (combined with some quality sightseeing) to Australia and Singapore, and Peter will be off to Craft Beer Rising 2014 (tickets available here while they last!) in Feb for a cider-packed weekend of amazing drinks, music and street food. We’re chuffed to be in the line-up that features some of the world’s finest brews reflecting the best in experimental and established brewing.  Peter will also be catching up with some of our Southerly customers while he’s down there, so get in touch if you fancy arranging a rendezvous.

And over the next few months, a big shiny new tank will soon be heading to Thistly HQ, so big in fact, that we may have to think about building a new shed to accommodate it…

filled open wh keg

Thanks for all your support in 2013, and we look forward to having you with us in 2014. Looks like it’s gonna be a good one!