Latest Blog Posts

Sparkling perry older than champagne? Yes but don’t let on…

Do you remember the “Hey…I’d love a Babycham” ad from the 70s and 80s?  Growing up then I had no idea what Babycham was, but it always seemed exotic, mysterious, cool and sexy (although still never drank it!).   However it’s only good old fashioned sweet sparkling perry that, like most commercial ciders and perrys, is probably made from just concentrate, sugar and water.  Little did we know then that it was probably the pre-curser to today’s alcopops.  However a number of craft cider producers now also make fantastic perry cider which is definitely not an alcopop – high quality 100% juice ingredients giving rise to a fantastic ‘new’ craft drink, growing rapidly in popularity.

Also a little known fact is that bottle fermentation was made possible by the British who originally started adding sugar to their ciders in the 16th and 17th centuries leaving them to ferment to form perry or cider champagne, and now developed to the sparkling drinks for the mass market we know today.  They were also able to make the glass bottles strong enough to withstand the pressure, which ultimately enabled the French to develop their mass market world wide brand of sparkling wine … champagne.

We have some great sparkling perry’s made from 100% perry pears and available to buy on the website from Tutts Clump, Gwyntt Y Ddraig and Mr Whiteheads –


Shake ‘n’ Catch – cider apple collection going hi-tech?


As physicist Isaac Newton realised while he was sitting in his garden many moons ago, apples like to fall out of their tree with gravity force. This law of nature is something that cider growers are all also acutely aware of.

When cider apples hit the ground, the quality of the fruits is severely compromised. This is why Thatchers is currently trialling a new way of planting trees that could help to eliminate this problem.

The largest trial of its kind in the UK, the research project is being led by John Thatcher, who started the experiment in 2010 when he planted some 16ha of trees at the Somerset-based cider maker’s Shiplate orchards. Two years later, he planted another 41ha on the site.

All 70,000 trees in the trial have been planted in an innovative, new hedgerow style, meaning they reach a height of 2.74m (9ft) and are planted 1.5m (5ft) apart. This enables Thatchers’ growers to collect the apples using a new straddle harvester, which the family business has helped to develop.

This hi-tech machine harvests the apples using a “shake-and-catch” method that stops the fruits from shooting onto the orchard floor. John says: “We believe that harvesting apples off the ground is not an option for the future, so this major trial will be of immense value.”

With thanks to Horticulture week.

UK Duty Exemption removal requested for small cider producers

The European Commission has formally requested that the UK amend an excise duty scheme that exempts from duty small producers of cider and perry.

The UK exemption covers those producers that produce not more than 70 hectoliters of cider or perry over a period of 12 consecutive months and who make such products for sale. Read More

Support small cider makers

New EU laws could force small cider producers to pay duty.   See the FT article here:

We need to ensure that small cider producers are supported and given as much publicity as small breweries.

Craft beer boom…more is less?

The UK has about 1,300 breweries, the highest since the 1930s according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), even though people are drinking less. A fifth of adults now say they are teetotal and the proportion of young adults who drink frequently fell two-thirds between 2005 and 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics.  People are drinking less volume but better quality drinks.

Brewing is booming in the UK, spurred by growing sales of craft beer and ales, with applications to start breweries tripling in the past five years.
Small brewers in the UK are helped by a tax measure introduced in 2002, which gives a 50 per cent beer duty discount for brewers producing less than 5,000 hectolitres, about 900,000 pints, a year, and campaigners are still pushing George Osbourne to make further cuts in duty to both beer and cider (which doesn’t get as much publicity).

The surge in beer duty applications, a legal requirement for starting a brewery, comes despite falling alcohol consumption and the continuing closure of pubs. Last year, 304 applications were submitted, up 42 per cent on 2013 and 189 per cent higher than in 2010, according to UHY Hacker Young, the accountancy firm.  Craft beers and ales, typically brewed locally and distinguished by strong flavours that are less common in mainstream beers, are a small but fast-growing segment of the beer market, and you can buy mixed cases from many different brewers on our website. Sales in this area grew at 30.3 per cent to £404m last year, according to GCA Peach.

With thanks to the FT.


A canny idea…?

The beer can turned 80 years old last week but still, for many, the very thought of beer in a can conjures up images of listless lagers favoured by lairy lads or super strength brews consumed by a less than discerning park bench crowd – miles away from the suave sophistication of continental bottled beers or the warm reassurance of real ale. The continued rise of craft breweries however, and their championing of the can, could see all this about to change.

It was the early 1900s when American brewers first hit on the idea of canning beers, but the challenge of creating a metal container that could withstand the pasteurisation process, as well as the pressures of carbonisation, proved problematic. And then of course came prohibition.
Read More

Know your history of IPA? Want to drink some IPA…?!


Good article from The Guardian explaining the history of IPA and photo of ship docking in India.

IPA’s available from Fetch the Drinks include the following:

Sixpenny Brewery

Vibrant Forest (a bit different!)

Little Valley Brewery

Gyle 59


Cider drinkers growing – but not in height


According to a Canadean survey of 2,000 UK-based adults, conducted in November 2014, a total of 19% of UK consumers have drunk cider in the last six months, but 57% of those cider drinkers only do so occasionally.. The key challenge for manufacturers is to enhance the premium and experiential credentials of cider to make the beverage more compelling. The survey shows that, despite the UK cider market being worth £4.0 billion in 2014 (up from £3.2 billion in 2010), more can be done to further increase sales by offering artisanal or mixed ciders.

Well as you will have seen from my blog yesterday Fetch The Drinks have many mixed ciders for sale and all our ciders are produced by artisans…

Two-thirds (62%) of cider drinkers say that they would be interested in craft ciders, with the desire for such products highest among younger adults. The concept of craft cider refers to artisanal brands that are positioned around purity, high quality ingredients and extra care in the production process.

Attributes such as authenticity, craftsmanship and quality appeal to consumers who are looking for something extra in their beverages – funnily enough just what the range of cider at Fetch The Drinks offers…