Thistly’s Winter Whisky Warmer


We swear this is a glass full of Whisky Cask Cider, and not single malt!

It’s really starting to feel like Autumn/Winter now at Thistly – all crisp mornings and early-darkening evenings. Our #apples4cider appeal seeking to uncover all of Scotland’s unwanted and neglected apples has launched, and the fruit is already tumbling in to the Cider Shed. The apple press is going to be hard at work!

Whilst all Thistly’s ciders can be enjoyed the whole year round, at the forefront of the colder months is definitely our Whisky Cask Cider. We hugely value our growing relationship with Glen Moray Distillery, which allows our cider to benefit from maturation time in the rich, oak of their ex-distillery whisky casks. The Distillery itself has recently announced some exciting news; their own Glen Moray cider cask-finished Whisky is now available as a bottle-your-own at the distillery, and is selling fast!

glen-moray-whisky-cider-screenshotWhiskyNotes has a great piece mentioning the variety of Glen Moray ‘finishes’ from a Tweet Tasting organised by The Whisky Wire.

This includes their peated cask, sherry cask and others. Click here to read the full piece.


At Thistly we realise the value of using an authentic maturation process for our Whisky Cask Cider; these casks are a valuable resource, and we’re delighted to be continuing our collaboration with Graham and the team at Glen Moray.


There’s nothing like the depth of flavour imparted by the casks, and as a result, Thistly’s Whisky Cask Cider, made potent in the oak, has lingering tastes to be savoured.

As part of our barrel-aged range, Whisky Cask has found a secure place in Thistly’s core range; loved across the world, from St Andrews, to Stockholm and Chicago.

WCEach batch is entirely unique, as the gentle whisky flavour intermingles with subtle, medium dry cider.

This gives way to the distinctive full bodied flavour of each cask, allowing finishing overtones of whisky.

It’s the perfect winter warmer, with true Scottish provenance!


Want more about Thistly Cross’ and Glen Moray cask-swapping scheme? Click here.

Order your very own case of Thistly Cross Whisky Cask Cider, or even a 20L Cider box, delivered to your (mainland UK) door! Here.

And Glen Moray’s website can be found here.

Gordon Castle Walled Gardens

wall of treesSpring is finally springing and it will soon be time for the apple trees to start budding, so it was perfect weather for Peter to pay a visit to our friends Gordon Castle  in Fochabers to see their gardens and amazing collection of fruit trees.

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garden view

As well as trained pear and apple trees stretching along the brickwork walls, they have pear tree tunnels, and even some lined pathways where apples are grown along the ground. Evidence of an original walled garden has been discovered from as far back as the 17th century, with the present form dating from 1803. And The Walled Garden’s national significance has been recognised in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.

buildingsWe’re lucky enough to press some of their home-grown fruit here at Thistly Cross, which forms the basis for their Gordon Castle cider. And if you visit, make sure you try their award-winning, small-batch, super-premium gin using herbs from their own gardens!



Great Scottish Beer Celebration

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Fancy sampling Thistly’s ciders and the wares from lots of outstanding breweries including Brewdog, St Andrews Brew Co and Alechemy just to name a few? Alongside some amazing stacks of street food and great music? In buzzing Glasgow?

tcc capThen this weekend (Fri 11th – Sat 12th March), sees Hippo Beers presenting the 2nd annual Great Scottish Beer Celebration at The Barras Art and Design Centre.

Showcasing the thriving independent Scottish brewing industry alongside a few friends from across the border, the inaugural GSBC was so popular that they’ve even added an extra session this year to cater for demand!

There will be four sessions in total:jk at CBR colin

  • Friday afternoon: 12pm – 5pm
  • Friday evening: 6pm – 11pm
  • Saturday afternoon: 12pm – 5pm
  • Saturday evening: 6pm – 11pm

And Team Thistly will be there with all the ciders, including our festival fave Jaggy Thistly (which you can’t get in bottles), and our newest VERY limited edition Rum Cask. This may very well be your last chance to sample this rare beast as whenever it has reared its head, the kegs have run dry!

We’ll also have special stock of US canned cider from our friends JK’s Farmhouse Cider in two varieties: Organic Scrumpy Hard Cider and Northern Neighbour (made with Saskatoon berries).

Look out for Cammy, Colin and Sinea at Friday’s sessions, with the addition of Luke and Stevie on Saturday on our rainbow bar!

Buy tickets here.                          GSBC on Facebook.                          GSBC on Twitter.

Thistly Cross & Glen Moray: a cask swapping scheme

WC at Glen MorayGood news Whisky Cask Cider lovers as we have officially joined forces with fellow Scottish producer, Glen Moray Distillery to use their ex-distillery casks! Thistly Cross has long been at the forefront of the craft cider movement in Scotland and we’ve been experimenting with cask-aged ciders for a number of years – a technique that is often used for beers but, as of yet, is still relatively new to the cider industry. However, this collaboration is truly unique in that, after the whisky casks have been used to mature cider, they are sent back up to the distillery to be used again for whisky maturation.

Graham & Peter GM“It has been great to use the cider casks to enhance the character of Glen Moray,” said Graham Coull, Distillery Manager.  “As far as we are aware, no other Scottish Single Malt Whisky distillery has matured their whisky in cider casks.  The results, even at this early stage, are superb – watch this space!”

Thistly uses the whisky casks from the distillery to mature our small batch Whisky Cask cider, which is fast becoming the most popular in our portfolio, and our friendship with Glen Moray allows us to ensure that Whisky Cask has a permanent listing in our barrel-aged range.

“We’re excited to be working with a strong Scottish heritage brand such as Glen Moray,” said Head Cidermaker Peter Stuart.  “Collaboration and friendship is at the heart of Thistly’s ethos, and we love working with the distillery.  Both companies are known for producing innovative products and flavours, so working together was a logical step to take,” he continued.  “Our Whisky Cask cider is Thistly’s fastest growing cider variety and is taking both Scottish companies into new markets and export territories.”

Thistly may be a relatively young East Lothian company, having started in 2008 as a partnership between artist Peter Stuart and farmer Ian Rennie, but Glen Moray whisky has been distilled on the banks of the River Lossie since 1897.  Using local ingredients and craftsmen, the distillery takes a bespoke approach to producing a wide range of cask-finished whiskies; the fine balance between creativity and tradition is evident throughout their range.

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Glen Moray’s casks begin their journey in the USA.  Like most Scotch Whisky casks, they were previously used for bourbon.  The white oak used for the casks (quercus alba) imparts a vanilla-like flavour to its contents, whilst the flavour from Glen Moray whisky adds a complexity to Whisky Cask Cider’s smooth flavour profile.

Thistly Cross Whisky Cask cider is available in bottles, ciderboxes and kegs, from a wide range of pubs and independent bottle shops across the UK (including supermarkets across Scotland) and is also stocked internationally.

North Hop Edinburgh this Saturday!

north hop bannerWe’re going to North Hop until we pop this weekend, how about you?

Following on from their successful fests in Inverness and Aberdeen, March 5th sees the Assembly Rooms on George Street, Edinburgh transformed into a hop-filled Beer (and cider) Hall complete with main stage and tempting street food alongside the buzzing DJ-led Ballroom full of gin, cocktails and lots of other treats.

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Sessions run 12pm until 5pm , then 7pm til 12am this Saturday, and Thistly will be there with a bar-full of cidery goodness featuring all our core varieties and a few surprises (check out our tap list above). And make sure you check out our friends Tempest Brewery who will be bringing their portfolio of fine beers alongside their newest Saison Cider which is blended from our very own sweet cider.


Look out for Thistly Sinea, Colin and Cammy on the bar (maybe literally if you’re very, very lucky)….

Buy tickets for the event here!

Get more info and follow the fun on North Hop’s facebook and Twitter, or keep a curious eye on what we’re up to on our facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media channels.

Craft Beer Rising

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We’re busy this weekend at Craft Beer Rising down in London at the Truman Brewery, until Sunday with a fine selection of Thistly on handpull and draught including the very rare limited edition beast that is Rum Cask.


It seemed like it might just be a dream, but no, we are indeed inside a room ENTIRELY DEDICATED to cider, Lost in Cyder Space. Come visit: the bar is built, Trade Day is underway, and Peter has adopted the victorious bar-conqueror pose so we are officially GO. Love to see you down there!

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Thistly Cross is expanding!

TCC_WBarns combinedWe’ve all expanded somewhat over the festive period but Thistly is doing it in 2016 style! We’re stoked to announce our new cidershed in the village of West Barns, about a mile down the road from Thistly’s original headquarters.

The new site allows us to increase our capacity sevenfold, and follows on from the company’s most successful year yet. The storage and production areas have expanded, and not only that, we’ve added three new chiller tanks to increase capacity.

TCC_WBarns tanks“I’m thrilled that Thistly is opening our new cidershed,” said Peter Stuart, Head Cidermaker. “We’ve had such a big demand for our cider this year and it’s fantastic to know we’re going to continue to be able to meet this.”

The new premises allow us to meet increasing demand for craft cider both in and outside the UK, whilst still maintaining the small batch nature of our production.

“We care very much about making a high quality product made from good ingredients,” Peter went on, “small batch cidermaking is at the core of Thistly’s philosophy.”

The move took place at the start of the year, with production now continuing at the new premises, where the buildings have a history dating back to the 1700s. East Lothian is home to some of the oldest farm steadings in the world and, back in 1798, the site was used to produce Scotch Whisky and, later, as a brewery and maltings. Now, Thistly Cross is slowly rebuilding West Barns steading, with plans to add a pressing room and tasting room, in addition to the fermentation and blending rooms already in operation.

“It’s fantastic to be able to add to the strong tradition of alcohol production in the heart of East Lothian, and our new location is steeped in heritage,” Peter said. “We can’t wait to contribute to the area’s rich history.” He continued, “when it comes to booze, Scotland is the best brand in the world and Thistly is heading that way with cider!”

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