Martin Thatcher tells Helena Drakakis about Thatchers Cider’s plans for the year
BW: How has Thatchers helped wholesalers grow sales in the past 12 months?
MT: At Thatchers, we know how important our wholesale customers are and the reach they have with retailers. So we have been developing a promotional plan that ensures our wholesalers can promote Thatchers’ brands at the appropriate times of the year to maximise sales. Our wholesale and cash & carry customers will be seeing more of the Thatchers team to support them in-depot and provide point-of-sale materials. We’ve also been developing our range of pack formats for Thatchers Gold bottles and cans.
BW: What is the greatest challenge you face?
Our brands are growing quickly in popularity, thanks to the investment we put behind them and consumers’ appreciation that our ciders represent great taste and quality. To support and sustain this growth, we need to continually invest in all parts of the business, including our cider-making and packaging facilities, marketing and sales. This is a very exciting challenge.
As a West Country, fourth-generation cider-maker, our brands and values are widely known here, but our marketing campaign, including a TV ad, brings our cider mill at Myrtle Farm to life and helps take this message to all parts of the country.
BW: What opportunities and trends are emerging in wholesale for cider?
Heritage ciders continue to attract huge interest. Within the apple category, where Thatchers has extensive expertise and knowledge, we are seeing strong growth in premium, cloudy and vintage ciders. Thatchers’ brands are performing well and are ideally positioned to continue to drive this growth and help wholesalers grow their businesses.
The demand for heritage ciders means that Thatchers Gold is a must-stock for wholesalers – it continues to enjoy a 34% sales growth in the off-trade and in the on-trade, it is the number two draught cider.
BW: What’s been Thatcher’s greatest achievement in the past year?
One of our greatest achievements has been the launch of Thatchers Haze, a 4.5% ABV naturally cloudy cider that takes its haze from the Jonagold apple. Sales have been strong, supported by a major promotional campaign.
We’re also delighted to have been awarded the Champion Trophy for our beautiful Katy Cider, at the Hereford Museum Cider and Perry competition.
BW: What advice would you give wholesalers looking to grow sales in cider?
Ensure you stock the right cider brands with a range that meets demand and offers the variety that your customers need. Premium apple, cloudy and speciality ciders need to have space in your depot. It’s really important to keep stock levels up, especially when the sun comes out. Plan in advance so your customers have plenty of time to stock their shelves.
Finally, consider what you can do to increase stand-out on the shelf in-depot.
BW: What would you like to see happening in wholesale in the next 12 months?
Wholesale has a fantastic opportunity to get behind the growing areas of the cider category, and support their on-trade and retail customers, particularly in the increasingly important convenience channel. It’s really important that wholesalers ensure that the range available includes the growth brands in each category of premium, mainstream, cloudy and vintage.
BW: Are you planning any activity that wholesalers should be aware of?
We have the European football championships and the Olympics, both of which should drive cider sales and provide opportunities for retailers. Thatchers is the official cider of the Glastonbury Festival for the third year running and we have recently agreed our partnership for a further five years. Our marketing campaigns for Thatchers Gold and Thatchers Haze continue over the summer, supported by social media and PR.