Oh my lederhosen! Thistly Cross is coming to Oktoberfest

Autumn is approaching rapidly, and you know what that means… no, not scarves and hats and all that boring knitted stuff, we mean giant steins of alcohol, tasty sausages and leather trousers of course! ok snapThistly is going to be the draught cider of Oktoberfest in its London (19th-22nd Sep, 26th-29th Sep), Glasgow (17th-20th, 24th-27th Oct) and Edinburgh (9th-13th Oct) events. Last year alone, the Munich event attracted 6.5 million guests who ate (tasty fact alert!) 500,000 roast chickens and 100 oxen, and sold out 6 months in advance. The UK events are heading the same way with tickets selling like hot pretzels, so if you can’t get to Munich, pop on a dirndl and head along to the only official Oktoberfest outside Bavaria where you can fill up on your favourite Thistly and some schlachtschussi. Hope to see you there, prost!

IMG_20130915_144117In other news, the Great Taste Awards 2013 have been announced, and Thistly Cross is a double award winner! Our Original 7.2% cider in both Sparkling and Still varieties wowed the judges in the world’s largest and most rigorous food awards scheme, described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world. Original Still was singled out as an officially outstanding product, and our Original Sparkling was classified as ‘virtually faultless’. Both now join our other Thistly Cross Great Taste winners, Traditional, Strawberry and Elderflower. Original is one of our most popular varieties so it’s a nice pat on the back especially as the awards involved over 400 judges and blind tasting of an incredible 10,000-plus products.

So now we’re catching our breath after a busy Summer weaving our cider magic to slake thirsts near and far by supplying (and attending) loads of outlets, festivals and events, including the Insider Festival, Cider Summit in Seattle, BBC Proms in Glasgow and many more. We began craft collaborations with Tempest Brewery, producing a limited edition Snakebite & Black; its retro goodness has been going down a storm. IMG_20130906_190723And now as we head into apple harvest time, we’re shining the seasonally appropriate spotlight on our vintage CAMRA-endorsed Jaggy Thistle which is perfect for the slight Autumn chill that’s creeping in. Made with local apples, it offers a satisfying and impressive 7.4% ABV, and is also perfect served half-in-half with our Original 7.2%, giving a combined medium dry finish. And remember, if you’re local to East Lothian with an unloved apple orchard or just too many apples, Thistly wants to know; anything over 10kg gets something delicious in return. Contact details on the website. Here’s to a creative, productive and cosy Autumn!

Audio Soup is back and this time it’s on the Thistly Cross Cider farm!

Scotland is finally basking in sunshine and here at Thistly we can feel a festival coming on!

This year, instead of us lugging our cider to Audio Soup, Audio Soup is bringing their music to the Thistly fields for the ultimate collaboration in musical, cidery fun.

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We love Scotland’s biggest wee festival and we know that you guys do too; back for their third year our pals at Audio Soup are pulling out all the stops to bring us the best unsigned artists from the UK to the open air main stage and the wub hut as well.

Acts such as Beat Master General, Sam Buckly, and T Danger and G Kemp will be performing from Friday through to Sunday so grab your tickets from www.skiddle.com to join us from  the 30th of August to the 2nd of September.

Ticket prices start at £20 for an adult day ticket and £58 for the weekend camping (campervans are £5 extra). Young persons tickets come even cheaper than that and music isn’t the only thing you’ll experience…


In the middle of the woods, a hidden cider bar to amuse the senses. We’ll be there with every single one of our summery ciders on tap; so whether Real Strawberry, Original Still, or Real Ginger takes your fancy, you’ll be able to enjoy it as fresh as possible and in the most mesmerising surroundings you can imagine…the Thistly Cross Farm of course.

Fancy it but don’t know what to do with the ankle biters? Great news! Why not bring them along to have some fun in the indoor kids area?

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The whole family can be transformed into terrifying tigers and beautiful butterflies at our face painting bar at 12pm on Saturday and, if it all gets too much, you can relax by taking an onsite yoga or pilates class.

So grab your tent, a few mates, and some festival cheer. It’s time to spend a weekend camping and partying in the beautiful East Lothian countryside.

And don’t worry, Thistly Cross Cider has been in touch with the sun and he’s assured us that he’ll keep his hat on and cider in hand for August 30th.  Promise!

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We love the Whiski Bar & Restaurant

Pride of place on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, you’ll find the Whiski Bar and Restaurant.

whiski bar

Serving delicious Scottish food and over 300 whiskies, the Whiski Bar and Restaurant was an early adopter of our cider as manager Rory explains:

“We’ve been stocking Thistly Cross Cider for over four years.

“At the beginning it was mainly tourists who were interested in the cider as they wanted to try anything that was Scottish!

“More recently Thistly’s popularity has gone through the roof with Edinburgh locals coming in looking for the cider too.

“At the moment, our clientele are polishing off about four kegs a week at least. People are thirsty for proper cider; so much so we’ve taken out Strongbow completely and replaced it with Thistly on draft!”

whiski bar

A multi-award winning restaurant, part of the Whiski Bar’s success is its reputation as one of Edinburgh’s best Scottish restaurants…and there’s more than just haggis on the menu:

“The Whiski Restaurant strives to give visitors a taste of Scotland using fresh, natural ingredients.

“We’re also working on recipes that combine different Scottish ingredients like our mussels in a Thistly Cross Cider sauce which go down a right treat!”

In keeping with the Whiski Bar being one of the first Edinburgh bars to stock our cider, we made sure they were among the first to sell our cider on keg – a new addition to the Thistly Cross line-up.


“We’ve recently begun selling the cider from kegs and it’s been working really well.

“So far we’ve been able to put the Original 7.2% on draft – which is definitely our most popular cider – with Real Strawberry, Real Ginger and Whisky Cask still available by the bottle.”

And at the end of a busy day, Rory knows which cider is his favourite:

“My absolute favourite is Thistly’s Original 7.2% Still. An ice cold pint of that – what a way to round off a hard day’s work!”

Thistly Cross Snakebite and Black Puts In Another Appearance…

Our fastest selling cider of 2013 so far.

The world’s first commercial snakebite.

A collaboration between an awesome craft brewery and Scotland’s only recognised cider maker…

Snakebite 1









There are lots of ways to introduce Snakebite and Black – A 5.5% craft blend that uses Thistly Cross Cider and Tempest beer, not to mention copious amounts of home grown blackcurrants from our fruit farm.

After a sneaky preview at Craft beer Rising in London, Snakebite and Black sold-out. Fast.

Rumour has it that another batch is almost ready to unleash it’s cidery, beery, blackcurranty goodness on the willing masses!


In fact, as soon as this weekend we’re going to be trotting up the road to the rather marvelous Insider Festival where Snakebite and Black will be putting in a guest appearance on the Backwoods Bar…a mysterious purveyor of drinkable delights tucked away in the secluded woodland spaces of Inveriach Estate.

Snakebite and Black will also be slithering its way into various pubs and bars around the country. More announcements on this coming soon.

In Edinburgh we’ll also be entertaining the crowds at the Royal Highland Show – the jewel in the crown of the agricultural calendar. Here you’ll be able to try each of our seven ciders across the core range.

You can find the Thistly Cross Cider exhibiting as part of the East Lothian Food & Drink stand at the end of the food hall next to the cookery demonstrations AKA right where the action happens!

We’ll be sampling all our ciders so it’s a great opportunity to try before you buy.

cider samples

As ever, we’ll have our sturdy six bottle carrier bags which make navigating the route from the food hall back to the car park a breeze with your precious cidery cargo.

You’ll also be able to enjoy a cool glass of Thistly on draft at the Scottish Real Ale Tent run by our friends, Eden Brewery from St Andrews.

Cider at Insider Festival

In one month Thistly Cross will be going around the world.

The voyage itself is less about taxis, planes and overpriced inflight snacks. Instead we’re going globetrotting via a blend of top notch cuisine and awesome music; all set against the backdrop of the Scottish highlands.

insider 1Insider Festival – now in its fifth year – is back. From the 21st – 23rd of June, Inshriach House will play host to 750 revelers who will enjoy sandy shores, a luxury spa and many, many musical delights across the weekend.

Bands on the menu include Washington Irving, Balkanarama, The John Lagan Band, Man’s Ruin, Black Diamond Express, Duncan Harvey, Ichi, Matthew Herbert, Karine Polwart and Sparrow & The Workshop.

Thistly Cross is delighted to be heading back to Insider Festival with plenty of cidery goodness for all.
insider 2We’ll be packing our suitcases full of Thistly Cross goodies – like our real strawberry cider made using strawberries from our fruit farm! This cider is the perfect summer drinks solution served over lashings of ice.

Insider sold out last year so be quick and book your tickets now; there’s only 750 available so be among the lucky ones.

insider 3In the meantime, you can stay up-to-date with all the Insider news, band announcements and camp inflight safety demonstrations on the festival’s brilliant Facebook page…there’s also plenty of trailers of the line-up should you wish to try before you buy.

See you there!

The Month in Thistly Cross Cider

With the summer months fast approaching, one things for sure – we’re about to get insanely busy.

March and April seem to have kicked off the summer trend early however. Here’s just a few of the reasons why:

1.       Ginger cider now available in America

We love our Stateside Thistly fans – you’re not shy to snap up a Scottish cider when you see one, let alone Instagram it, Facebook it, Tweet it and Untapp it! With the launch of Whisky Cask proving such a hit at the end of 2012, it wasn’t long before other members of the Thistly family were making it across the pond; Ginger being the latest addition.

2.       Crowned ‘Top 20 best products at IFE’









We were down in London this month for the International Food Exhibition – a global gathering of the world’s best food and drink producers. We were very humbled to be crowned one of the ‘top 20 best products’ at the event; fighting off competition from 100s of international brands.

3.       The launch of Snakebite

Our first collaboration with Scottish craft brewers – Tempest – we launched our hotly anticipated Snakebite to rave reviews. Dubbed a ‘connoisseurs’ snakebite’, the end result was a 5.5% blend of lager and cider with a hint of tart Scottish blackcurrants from our farm. Following a sneaky sell-out preview at Craft Beer Rising in London, we officially launched Snakebite in Edinburgh at the Brauhaus. Needless to say it went down a treat.

4.       Got our ‘Pin’ on

Thistly are already fans of the socialsphere with profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Not one to miss a trick however, we’ve recently launched our Thistly Cross Pinterest profile where you can feast your eyes on cidery images galore. We’re now looking to crowd source further images to show ‘Thistly through the eyes of Thistly drinkers’!

5.       Thistly now available ‘down under’

Thistly Cross is now on sale in Australia. Currently stocked in outlets in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Airlie Beach and Polkolbin, we think the outrageously sunny weather makes for a perfect cider drinking habit. Cheers to you Skippy!

Thistly Cross / Tempest Snakebite – The Launch!

Hot on the heels of a sneaky sell-out preview at London’s Craft Beer Rising, we officially launched the world’s first commercial Snakebite at The Brauhaus in Edinburgh on March 21st. Needless to say, it went down a treat.

A 5.5% craft blend that uses Thistly Cross Cider and Tempest beer, not to mention home-grown Scottish blackcurrants from the Thistly Cross farm, Snakebite was launched to drinkers, journalists and bloggers alike. Here’s Beercast’s review of Snakebite to whet your appetite.

And a few of the snaps from the event itself:

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You can view more snaps of the event here.

(photos courtesy of The Jolly Milkman)


Snakebite – Official Launch Party

Thistly Cross Cider & Tempest Brewery: Official Snakebite Launch Party – Brauhaus Edinburgh – 21st March

Following a sneaky sell-out preview at London’s Craft Beer Rising, we’re launching our hotly anticipated Snakebite north of the border. And guess what? You’re invited!

A kick-ass collaboration between two Scottish craft producers – Tempest Brewery and Thistly Cross Cider – this isn’t just the world’s first commercial snakebite, it’s the world’s first craft snakebite as well.

Snakebite_VFINALA radical reimagining of an old school classic, our 5.5% blend takes Snakebite to a whole new level; sticking to the iconic half and half mix of cider and beer whilst including home-grown, hand-picked blackcurrants from the Thistly Cross farm.

Want to be part of hisstory and see what all the fuss is about?

Come party with us at the Brauhaus in Edinburgh on Thursday the 21st of March from 8 ’til late to celebrate the arrival of a legend.

Here you’ll get the meet the makers as well as getting the opportunity to try some of Tempest’s other incredible beers and Thistly Cross’ CAMRA-endorsed, dry vintage farmhouse cider – Jaggy Thistle.

Oh, and we promise there won’t be a Cobra in sight.

RSVP to the event on Facebook now.

Craft Beer Rising

We’re big believers that craft beer and cider are of the same ilk – from the hands on approach upheld by people who actually care about producing something incredible to the use of honest, natural ingredients.

craft beer rising

Needless to say, we’re pretty excited about attending Craft Beer Rising – a new craft beer festival that is set to showcase some of the world’s greatest brews in the grounds of the old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, East London.

As well as copious amounts of beer, there’s also going to be some mind blowing street food from the likes of Mother Flippin’ Burgers, Fleisch Mob and The Ribman who are all working in collaboration with the infamous Brockley Market.

norman jay

Top this off with a healthy dose of live music from DJs such as Norman Jay and Pete Paphides and events like beer and food pairing, beer cocktails and a beer lab, there’s plenty to get your taste buds into.

We’ll be at Craft Beer Rising on both the Friday and the Saturday (22nd & 23rd of February). Thistly Cross will be responsible for the cider bar which means it will be all hands to the pump with special editions such as Jaggy Thistle set to make an appearance.
There are also rumours of a very top secret cider possibly making its debut…a collaboration between Thistly Cross and a Scottish craft brewer – watch this space!
Fancy coming along to check it out? We think you should!


Friday is mainly a day for trade customers so if you’re interested in finding out more about the craft beer industry or our ciders, this could be the day for you.
Saturday is for consumers, so pull up a pew and immerse yourself in the flourishing world of craft…just remember to bring a wad of cash to treat yourself to some of that mighty, mighty street food!

You can check out more information on the event here and here.

Burns Supper Recipe Suggestions

January spells only one thing here at Thistly Cross HQ and that’s catching haggises, mashing neeps and generally trying to remember what comes after the line – ‘wee sleeked, timorous beastie…’.

So what better way to say happy birthday to the Bard than going all out and creating a whisky inspired three course dinner…or in our case, a whisky cask cider inspired feast.

So here’s what’ll be on Thistly HQ’s dinner table when the 25th comes around:

Starter: Haggis bhajis with whisky cider dip


Scotland’s love affair with Indian food shows no sign of abating and these haggis bhajis are a mouth-watering cultural combo. Bung three sliced onions, one crushed garlic clove, one chopped red chilli and 7oz of cooked haggis into a pan with oil. Cook until brown. Add 10oz of flour and a small amount of water to a bowl, then whisk. Add the haggis mix to the batter and deep fry. To create the dipping sauce for your starter mix 10fl oz of orange juice, 10oz of brown sugar, 3fl oz of white wine vinegar and 3fl oz of whisky cask cider.

Main: Haggis, clapshot and whisky sauce

haggis toast

There’s no beating the traditional main of haggis, neeps and tatties at your Burn’s supper. Whether it’s shop bought, homemade, meat or veggie, we don’t discriminate when it comes to Scotland’s national dish.If mash isn’t your thing, a Thistly favourite is haggis on toasted  artisan bread with a little drizzling of balsamic vinegar.

For the whisky sauce, add 17fl oz of double cream, 2tsp of mustard and season to taste. To add that infamous whisky kick, add a splash of whisky – we recommend using a single malt from our friends at Glenglassaugh Distillery.

Dessert: Whisky & Cider sorbet

whisky sorbet

Although Burn’s suppers help celebrate poems from the past, there’s nothing stopping you getting contemporary with it – like creating a whisky and cider sorbet. To make this great little palette cleanser, mix 4 cups of water with 1 ½ cups of cane sugar and 2 cups of lemon juice. Add 4 oz of Thistly Cross Whisky Cask Cider then garnish with lemon zest and a sprinkling of sugar.

So there you have it – a Burn’s culinary knees up fit for the Bard himself.

Just don’t forget to leave enough cider for your toast (that’s the speaking kind, not the eating kind!) and be sure to share your pictures with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.