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!

Merry Christmas from Thistly Cross

thistly xmas collage

Thistly Cross would like to wish all of its customers, friends and supporters, a very Merry Christmas!

In the spirit of the season, we’re also offering a special Christmas present to a lucky Thistly Cross lover – a little bit of TLC for the New Year just when wallets and cupboards are empty. In exchange for telling us what your favourite Thistly variety is, we’re offering you the chance to win a voucher to spend in our shop on any of our Thistly Cross 12-bottle cases (delivery to mainland UK included). A whole “12 days” of award-winning Thistly-mas to a door of your choosing!

Post “I love Thistly Cross (inserting your fave variety)”, on our Facebook page, or share a photo with us (we’d also appreciate your help to spread the word so a ‘like’ and ‘share’ is always helpful). ilovetcc-1Be as creative or minimalist as you wish – do a ‘Bob Dylan’ with a hand-written sign, or just tell it like it is. If Instagram is more your thing then you can also upload a snap there using the hashtag #ilovethistlycross so we can find you. Winner to be chosen in the first week of Jan 2014. By entering, you’re confirming that you (or the recipient) is 18+, that the winning address is on mainland UK, you’re happy for us to share you entries, and that you’re not an employee of Thistly. Good luck, and get sharing your love of Thistly with us and the world!

Happy Thanksgiving from Thistly Cross

thanksgiving basket long
A very Happy Thanksgiving Day to all our friends Stateside and across the world from Thistly Cross country!

usa flagAnd while we can’t promise that cider was served at the first ever Thanksgiving, it was definitely the drink of choice for the first American colonists (hops for beer, or grapes for wine were just too difficult to grow), as it quickly became a safer (and tastier) alternative to their potentially unsafe drinking water. Thankfully, cider has now become a favourite at the Thanksgiving table on taste alone, both as a drink, and as an ingredient in lots of festive recipes – cider-brined turkey, cider-glazed ribs, apple cider cake, or a cider gravy anyone?

Which is just as well as Thistly Cross is continuing to make impressive inroads into the US of A, and is currently on the receiving end of more than a little love; our Ginger Cider has been chosen as one of Men’s Health magazine’s seasonal ‘Best Hard Ciders’ – read all about it here.  1383779_10151806094563876_1495777922_n

And lets not forget that it isn’t just the time of year for Thanksgiving, but it’s also Hanukkah as well as being traditionally the end of harvest, and finally St Andrews Day (the patron saint of Scotland) on the 30th November.

The temperature may be dropping but we’re still getting big, beautifully sunny skies just round the corner from the Cider Shed, so it’s a fine time to crack open a Thistly Cross cider and celebrate all things both American and Scottish!

november skies

Wanted: Thistly Mulled Cider-makers this Winter!

mulled header

When the temperature really starts to fall, it’s time for a hot, fragrant, flavorful drink to soothe and warm the cockles. And that’s why in this blog, Thistly is all about the mulling.

Thistly Cross offers something cider-tastic for the customer all year round, but over the cold weather period, we provide a whole new world of mulled cider fun. Mulling alcohol is all about creating a taste sensation. In “ye olden days”, it was a practical way to make rough, spoiled alcohol taste a whole lot better and so, mulling became a spicy tradition beloved to cold Northern climates.

At Thistly, we have seen a hundred fold increase in cider sold for mulling and the hot cider ideas get hotter every year! So keep it simple and tasty and don’t over heat the mix (over heating burns off the flavour and the cider can spoil ifOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA kept warm for too long). The cider can be mulled in a batch; the wintery flavors steep in the jeely pan as it cools, and then reheat by the cup when required – a coffee machine milk steamer or microwave is just the trick. Serve in a sturdy glass, or a cup on a saucer with a few slices of citrus on the side for a satisfying, warming drink.

It’s best not get too fancy with your flavours, so keep it simple: some cider, a shot of something special (sweet apple juice or spirit) and some essential botanical bits and pieces. Take your pick from the best loved around the world: cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, the odd juniper berry, honey, lemon or orange (whole or peel), a few cloves, cardamom… or check out a Thistly favourite recipe below. The real fun starts when it’s time to chose the cider and any one will do, as long its Thistly! Our 5L or 20L bag-in-box is the perfect format and offers a cost effective, practical dispense. Imagine the Thistly Whisky Cask warmed with a clove-studded lemon gingerbib5Land drizzle of honey, our Traditional 4.4% steeped in cinnamon and orange, or Thistly’s Ginger cider served with a shot of Edinburgh Gin Spiced Orange. You can also try blending our Elderflower 0.5% cider with some apple juice for a lighter, sweeter drink. Have fun, be inventive and enjoy the variety that Thistly Cross Ciders offer. Leftover mulled cider is great for poaching fruit to make an intense fruit pudding or a rich, decadent pouring sauce. And at the end of the day, when the cider is all gone, the leftover mix can be put back into the jeely pan to make an exotic, spicy mulled jam.

Part of the fun is in the experimentation, so whatever flavours make it into your finished cider, join us and become a Thistly Mulled Cidermaker for the winter – happy mulling! 

warm up rectThistly’s Favourite Mulled Cider Recipe!

  • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 Clementine, sliced into wedges, spiked with 4 cloves
  • 1 lemon, sliced into wedges, spiked with 4 cloves
  • A big dram
  • And a bigger dram of Edinburgh Gin Spiced Orange
  • A 3 tbsp dollop of honey
  • 1 litre Thistly Cross ginger cider
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • freshly grated nutmeg to garnish
  1. Gently heat all of the ingredients over a low heat in a cider kettle or pan.
  2. Strain and pour the mulled cider into a glass or mug.
  3. Finish with some freshly grated nutmeg and fresh slice of lemon or orange.

The Thistly Cross Cider Range and Scottish Apple Juice are permanently stocked in 5L and 20L BIB Cider boxes so head to our online shop at, or contact for further details.