Is it cider? Is it brandy? No, it’s Scottish Cider Brandy!

Banner image - compressed

Thistly has some exciting news…  After teaming up with Strathearn Distillery, we’ve joined forces in a world first: Scottish Cider Brandy.

“Scottish Cider Brandy?” we hear you say.  Yes, Scottish Cider Brandy!  We’ve used our delicious cider and Strathearn’s expertise in producing artisan Scottish spirits to come up with something quite unique: a cider spirit, made using Thistly Cross Cider, and matured in virgin oak casks.

Both teams have been testing the cider brandy at events across Scotland (we even let other people try it too!) and we’ve been blown away by the feedback.  We knew we had a good product – but it’s great when other people agree!

There’s a highly limited run of 200 bottles available, due to be launched on the 21st of June.  Two more casks are patiently holding the remaining spirit, with plans to be bottled in due course.

More info to come.  Stay in the loop and keep an eye on our social media!

Tweet – like – follow

 

 

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.

collage edit

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!

 

field

Great Scottish Beer Celebration

gsbc venue logo
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.

Barrels Glen Moray y

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.

north taplist 2

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.

aison

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

cbr tag

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.

cbr

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!

cbr bar longshotcbr multi

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!”

comb TCC_WBarns outer

Happy 2016!

hny2015 has been an absolutely fantastic year at Thistly Cross!  It’s amazing to think of everything we’ve achieved and how far we’ve come.  We’ve had unforgettable experiences, met lots of brilliant people, and made scrumptious ciders.

Since this time a year ago, Team Thistly has nearly doubled in size.  Thanks in large part to the ScotGrad programme, we’ve gained lots of new faces to meet Thistly fans at events across the country – and the globe!

We’ve had some fun with Tempest Brewing, producing a few fruity collaborations (check out our latest in their blog) and we’ve attended some phenomenal events (Craft Beer Rising, North Hop, Indyman, to name but a few…) – not to mention our apple appeal, which left us swimming in fantastic apples!

Here are some of our favourite moments – and here’s to many more in 2016!

Mulling about Christmas

glass xmas 2With Christmas week now upon us and the weather starting to get a little chilly (although it’s a lot milder than usual), we thought it was the perfect time to talk about mulling.  At Thistly we know part of the fun of mulled cider is experimenting with flavours and making your own – chucking in whatever spices and fruits you fancy, or a dash of your favourite spirit. Many of our ciders make a great base for mulling, from the warmth of the Whisky Cask cider, through to the fresh spice of the Real Ginger cider. And we love the idea that there could be hundreds of Thistly Cross mulled ciders out there!

orig treeIf you’re inexperienced with mulling, don’t worry we’ll be gentle. We recommend starting with your choice of Thistly Cross and gently heating in a pan before adding spices.  At the mulled wine event in Covent Garden, Sinea and Cammy added oranges studded with cloves, and some cinnamon sticks with an added glug of Scotch Whisky for an extra kick.

mull spicesOther spices which work well include nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and star anise, whilst rum, brandy or even sloe gin can even be added to create a unique twist on a classic mull. And the addition of fruit juice gives a less potent mix, with juicier overtones – treat it like a punch, add some slices of fruit, and ladle into (heatproof) glasses or cups.

Thistly Cross reversed circle_20151217155019146 xmasIf you are mulling some Thistly Cross (or just drinking your favourite variety!) over the festive period, we’d love to see your results, so Instagram,  Facebook or Tweet us the evidence.

Which just leaves us to wish you a very Merry Christmas from all at Thistly Cross Cider! Thanks for your support and custom and we’ll see you in January with lots of exciting cidery developments planned for the New Year.

Winter at Thistly Cross

The apple season is drawing to a close and things are starting to feel very festive at Thistly HQ; the days are shorter, the air is crisper and the Christmas cards are piling up.  December is one of the busiest months for us, with cider being made, sold and delivered across the country in time for all the celebrations.

We kicked off the Christmas season in style down in London, where Sinea and Cammy launched Thistly’s Mulled Cider blend at the Covent Garden lights switch-on.  They also used some of our core varieties as a base for their own mulling experiments – all of which went down a storm!  Definitely cider-makers in training.

20151112_140758-01

Closer to home, Thistly has a stand at the Edinburgh Christmas Scottish Market in St Andrew Square.  Our core range is available as well as our mulled cider and, as we’re sharing the stand with Tempest Brewing, you can also stock up on craft beer whilst you’re there.  Thistly’s mulled cider is behind all of the official bars for the event, as well as in pubs throughout the city, so you should be able to get your fix around the capital.

20151123_184313-01Across in Glasgow, our signature mulled cider is fuelling the bar in George Square, along with the ice skating rink.  Thistly and ice skating? As long as you skate responsibly, what’s not to love!  And a mug of warming mulled cider is the perfect way to defrost those fingertips after the Christmas shopping.

IMG-20151209-WA0004-01We’ve been spreading the Christmas cheer around the country too – we had a great time at Foodies Christmas Festival in Harrogate at the weekend, as well as Glamis Castle Christmas Market, where we met lots of new Thistly fans.

We’ll be continuing to mull up some Thistly throughout the run-up to Christmas and New Year, and we’ve got tastings planned in Scotmid stores, so keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook pages for all the info. And don’t forget that tonight is your last chance to order through our webshop for cider delivered to your door (mainland UK) for Christmas!

Twitter: Thistly Cross

Facebook: Thistly Cross Cider

Instagram: @ThistlyCrossCider