Thistly Cross raises a glass to a year of record growth

SBBN-10-12-15 Thistly Cross success
SBBN-10-12-15 Thistly Cross success

Dunbar’s craft cider company Thistly Cross is celebrating after experiencing record growth over the last year, both at home and abroad.

The company has benefitted from the recent upsurge in cider sales, as well as a demand for ‘product authenticity’.

Head cidermaker, Peter Stuart, said: “As a small company, embedded in the local community, it’s great that people from Scotland – and further afield – are enjoying what we’re making. Thistly’s apple appeal has just come to an end and the project’s success has been a great opportunity to remind us of our original aim: to give Scottish apples the credit they deserve!”

A lot of Thistly’s growth has been abroad, particularly in the US. Thistly Cross Cider is now available in 44 US states, in keg and bottle formats.

The company attributes 12 % of its turnover to US sales – increasing by 60% per year. Thistly’s overseas trade is 22% of their total sales.

As part of their latest initiative, Thistly is teaming up with Black Isle Brewery to invite top performing sales reps from American distributors to Scotland to visit both companies and tour the country.

Peter continued: “We want to thank our distributors and sales reps for all of the hard work they do for us. It will also give us the chance to remind them what Thistly is all about!”

Luke Fenton, US cider ambassador, added: “Cider is the fastest growing drinks sector in the USA and Thistly is proud to be a part of that. Hard cider is the second most popular craft genre in the USA, after IPA, so it’s fantastic that we’re at a stage where we can compete in this environment.”

At home, Thistly’s success has seen sales increas by 400% in three years. Thistly Cross ciders are now available in every branch of ASDA in Scotland, as well as larger branches of Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsburys.

Thistly Cross met demand and supported this growth by taking on fourteen full and part-time members of staff since the start of the year, almost doubling its workforce.