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.

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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

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!

Highland Stillhouse edt txt

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!

 

Thistly Cross Cider Meets Audio Soup

A weekend of cider, summery vibes and facepaint…

What do you get if you cross a field in East Lothian with one thousand and something fancy dress wearing, face paint adorned festival-goers basking in the summer sun with enough Thistly Cross Cider to quench a small, thirsty army? The answer – Audio Soup.

We love small festivals, especially boutique festivals that just so happen to pop up on our doorstep which is why we jumped at the chance to cart along litres of delicious cider, as well as donating 80,000 litres of drinking water, to make sure the weekend and its family of party-hungry revellers never ran dry.

A best kept secret but set to become a regular feature on Scotland’s festival circuit, Audio Soup combines picturesque scenery, summery good time vibes and lashings of live music that transcend genre and – dare we say it – even sanity.

Back for their second year, the lovely people at Audio Soup succeeded in turning a bog standard field just outside Garvald into a mesmerising playground for the senses complete with wooden Stonehenge, Indian market stalls, thumping wubhut and bouncing main stage.

And with the Audio Soup campsite springing up early on Friday afternoon, this three day festival featured round the clock shenanigans, cider tasting, soup slurping and the odd bit of mud, just for old times’ sake!

So, with a cup of red, ginger or elderflower Thistly in hand, the rest of the weekend was spent peppered with appearances from a sterling line-up of bands – Dub Mafia, Bombskare and Mr Woodnote to name but a few as well as plenty of home grown talent.

Big love to the Audio Soup crew for having us along, we’re already prepping the apples for next year.

In the meantime, the crazy festival train doesn’t stop there. We’re in the process of gearing up for this weekend’s antics in the big blue shed at Belhaven Fruit Farm – a night of 3 awesome cover bands: The BlackBeez, Hurricane Jack and The Jammy Devils.

Covers include Kasbian, White Stripes, Kings of Leon, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, T-Rex, Creedance Clearwater Revival and many more.

Tickets are just £10 which includes a FREE pint of Thistly or double spirit before 9pm.

Doors from 7.30pm, bar until 1 – find out more here

Drop by, say hi and enjoy a cider with us as we celebrate one of the last nights of summer.

But for now, peace, love and cider x

Photo credits – Steven Ingle @ Iris Photography