Building on the recent success of our crowd-sourced apple appeal, we’re now working with a US producer to bring organic JK’s Scrumpy Cider in cans to the UK! The cider will hit shelves this month and is a continuation of a long-standing collaboration between the two cider companies. Alongside a shared passion and dedication to cider making, an important aspect of the collaboration is the concept of farmers helping farmers.
“Although both farms are separated by over 3500 miles, it was clear from the start that the companies shared the same values and goals,” said head cidermaker at Thistly Cross, Peter Stuart. “Both are innovative companies, making great tasting ciders from natural ingredients and with strong links to their respective local communities. Working together was a logical step to take!”
Throughout the transatlantic friendship, Thistly Cross Cider has achieved distribution in more than 40 US states, in keg and bottle formats, and has employed two US Cider Ambassadors to manage overseas development. Five of Thistly Cross’s seven award-winning ciders have earned pride of place in America’s first dedicated ciderhouse, Bushwacker Cider, and the US is Thistly’s top international market, with sales in the country doubling in the past year.
US Cider Ambassador, Luke Fenton, added: “We have discovered that the best way to make cider is by making friends and we now have many good friends stateside, who love who we are and what we do. By bringing J.K.’s Scrumpy to the UK, we hope to return the favour and introduce UK craft drinkers to the American take on cider.”
Cider is the fastest growing drinks sector in the USA and hard cider has been regarded as the second most popular craft genre after IPA.
J.K.’s Scrumpy is run by Jim Koan and is based at family-owned Almar Orchard in Michigan, operated by the Koans for more than 150 years. Cider production has protected the farm and orchards from a food industry which has become increasingly difficult for small producers. Jim, working with Bruce Wright of Orchard Gate Scrumpy, has challenged this environment, propelling J.K.’s Scrumpy into the top ten bestselling ciders in the US.
Thistly Cross will be distributing J.K.’s Scrumpy Hard Cider and Northern Neighbour varieties, alongside its own range of award-winning craft cider. The US cider will be sold in cans, which are increasingly being used by craft breweries in the UK, capturing and maintaining more flavour than bottled counterparts.
J.K.’s Scrumpy is an apple cider, produced since 1860. All of the apples are organic and the cider is sweet and rich, with a fresh flavour. The cider is slow-fermented for between six and eighteen months using natural yeast, before being canned on the farm.
Northern Neighbour is made from a mixture of home-grown apples and Saskatoon berries. The berries, whilst genetically similar to apples, are sweet with a tart nose. They are grown in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan and are very popular among locals. The cider has a burgundy hue with a flavour perfectly reflecting the fresh mix of apples and berries within.