Thistly in Texas & Chicago

luke photoSo we’re back for another trip to the Lone Star state, and as Thistly Luke is our International Cider Go-To-Guy, he’s just the man for the job, so it’s over to him currently stateside:

“Thistly Cross has been visiting the USA a lot in the past 12 months and we are winning the hearts and minds of Americans across 45 states (so far!), so we thought we’d better start spreading the word of the Scots-led cider revolution that’s happening over here. We have friends, no….Thistly family over here now and they are loving our ciders (though of course I’m fairly sure it’s just my handsome charm and International Scots accent that’s winning over all those cider and beer drinkers…).packing tshirts

I’m going to say that we have no favourites in terms of which state we love most, but if there was a scale Texas would be waaaaaay up there. The less-informed amongst you may be thinking, “surely all they drink there is Lone Star and Bud?” but no, this is one of the craft beer and cider engines of the United States.

The term, “everything is bigger in Texas” is certainly something that comes to mind. Big beer, big cider and big Thistly love for them all.

We’ve been working with Flood Distribution out here for just over 6 months now, these guys are new to the distribution game in terms of their own operation, but it’s built and nobi_pub_008sowned by people who have been in the industry for a number of years using their passion and love of everything craft. All their experience combined and their contacts in this incredible industry make up an awesome portfolio of beer, cider and spirits. Thanks to their efforts here in the Texas you can now find Thistly in Wholefoods, HEB and other leading supermarkets. We’re also on draught in some of the best and innovative craft beer bars in the state (my personal favourite is Nobi Bar and Grill in Houston! (see pic). If you’re visiting, make sure you say hi to Channing the owner who is a huge Thistly fan!”.Texas

Thanks Luke. So if you’re looking for an awesome place to drink in Texas (or anywhere else for that matter), check out our Where To Buy section on the website, or just give @ThistlyCross and @Thistly_Luke a shout on Twitter and we’ll point you in the right direction! And you could of course check out some of our Thistly US tastings starting tomorrow with our friends at Orchard Gate:

Thur 20th Aug, 7-9pm: The Globe, Irving Park, Chicago – Thistly Whisky Cask, Elderflower & Ginger in bottles

Fri 21st Aug, 3.30-5.30pm: Vas Foremost Liquors, Logan Sq, Chicago – Thistly tasting with JK Scrumpy

6-8pm: Monk’s Pub, W. Lake St, The Loop, Chicago – Thistly Whisky Cask & Ginger Ciders on a draught ‘Happy Hour’ promo

5-8pm: Sportman’s Club, Ukranian Village, Chicago – JK’s Farmhouse & Thistly Cross feature night

Sat 22nd Aug, 1-3pm: Binny’s Marcey St store, Goose Island – Thistly tasting

5-8pm: Fountainhead, Ravenswood/Lincoln Sq – Orchard Gate roll-out and food pairing

Festival Frenzy

It’s definitely going to be Festival Friday at Thistly Cross Cider with 2 great events coming up this long weekend that will be featuring our cider on the bar. First up is Bute Fest on the magnificent Isle of Bute for 3 days of music, food, family fun and entertainment, loads of craft cider and beer, and perhaps even more importantly considering the location…. FREE CAMPING!
bute fest 15

And then on the other side of the country we have Audio Soup, nestled in the beautiful Lammermuir hills, next to the village of Cranshaws in the Scottish Borders. 3 days of musical marvels, kid-friendly festivities and lots of cider of course on the Audio Soup bar. And when we say lots, we really mean just about everything Thistly has to offer.

audi poster

Happy and safe festival-ling!

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Imbibe Live!

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Imbibe is upon us from 29th-30th June, and Thistly will be deep in its midst at Stand A107 amongst cutting edge exhibitors, key industry networkers and an unrivalled programme of masterclasses, tastings and theatre sessions.

We could give you a lot of professional facts and tempting shpiel about award-winning, small-batch, long-matured, hand-pressed, real fruit cider, passion, artisan….. except you know all this already, because that’s exactly what Thistly Cross Cider is about. BUT what you don’t know is that for Imbibe Live! we’re bringing our stylishly rebranded range down to Olympia on the now-infamous Thistly rainbow bar. garland imbibe
And of course we have lots and lots of the best real-fruit, hand-made cider from Scotland including our dry scrumpy Jaggy Thistle, and core range: Original 6.2%, Traditional 4.4%, Ginger 4%, Strawberry 4%, Whisky Cask 6.9% and Elderflower 4%. Come along and see what the growing fuss is about Scotland’s Original cidermaker; taste and generally witness the Thistly experience. See you there!

PS – look out for the Viking…


Thistly Cross Cider announced as official supporter of Edinburgh Int. Film Festival 2015

Thistly Cross reveresed circle**Press Release 17/06/15**

Thistly Cross Cider has been announced as an official supporter of the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2015

Thistly Cross Cider is delighted to be sponsoring the Edinburgh International Film Festival when it takes over Scotland’s capital with all things filmic until 28th June. The festival launches with the feature directorial debut from Robert Carlyle starring Emma Thompson, and continues with a great range of programming including star-studded In-Person events with Ewan McGregor, Malcom McDowell and Jane Seymour.

Thistly Cross is particularly pleased to be involved in supporting the Industry Ceilidh and Scottish Documentary Institute events, with lucky guests and VIPs also receiving a little taste of Scotland’s original cider made from real fruit!

Based in East Lothian farm and established as a collaboration between farmer Ian Rennie and artist-turned-cidermaker Peter Stuart in 2008, Thistly Cross has gained a reputation for making ciders that people rave about. From pressing apples to maturing for 6 months, they’re involved in every aspect of their award-winning Scottish farmhouse cider.


wide rainbow group cask jun15 for twitterThistly Cross content & media wrangler Mandy Lee (who is also an award winning scriptwriter) is particularly thrilled with the collaboration, “We’re delighted to be introducing our cider to the film industry & film-lovers at the EIFF. Thistly is a perfect fit with the EIFF – both are slightly eccentric, creative and Scotland-based but world-focused with lots of variety! The opportunity to welcome guests from around the world to our capital city with a taste of Scotland, Thistly-style could not be missed. Anticipating lots of exciting cider dispatches from the EIFF frontline, and perhaps even exploring whether the world is ready for ‘Thistly Cross:The Movie’!”

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T: 01368 863246


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!

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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!

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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?