Aston Manor Continues To Invest In The Future Of The Business
3rd May 2013 Paul Andrews
Family firm invests in orchards in the UK and abroad
Independent cider maker Aston Manor is investing to plant 1,000 acres of new orchards in the West Midlands to support their growth at home and abroad. Representing some 350,000 trees being added to the landscape, the Midlands-based business will grant 25 year contracts to growers.
Gordon Johncox, managing director at Aston Manor said: “In our thirtieth year this is a planting scheme on an enormous scale. Already the largest independent cider maker in the UK, this both signals and supports our intention to work with growers to source the best fruit to be able to make top quality cider."
“It is also recognition of the long-term commitment Aston Manor has to the category – we are a cider business and only a cider business determined to build on the popularity of cider and perry both in the UK and in export markets.”
In recent years Aston Manor has planted a small number of cider apple and perry pear orchards to supplement the 300 acres in and around Malvern that already supply the business.
The scale of the new planting across prime locations in Herefordshire will take a couple of years to complete, though all locations are identified and agreements have been reached with growers.
Rodney Clifford, head cider maker at Aston Manor said: “This is a major development and very exciting as it transforms our supply of apples and secures top quality fruit for decades to come."
“Having agreed the sites with the growers we are selecting the apple varieties that deliver the yield they and we want and most especially the quality of bittersweet juice so we can continue to make ciders full of flavour and character.”
The investment in new orchards is just part of the work to build on the success of Aston Manor – a business with sales in excess of £110 million per annum and outperforming other cider makers.
Gordon Johncox was appointed as managing director at the start of year having joined the business in November 2011.
Johncox explained: “We are committing the necessary resources to build the capability and capacity of Aston Manor and believe we are very well placed to exploit the potential in the cider market at home and abroad."
“For example, we have invested £10m in three years at our Tiverton site and have doubled employment having dramatically increased production. Another £5m of capital investment this year will enhance our operations and efficiency further."
“We are also committed to building our brands – a number of brands will be updated and refreshed as has already happened with Kingstone Press."
“We are confident that Kingstone Press can become a major cider brand, hence in support of the brand we are investing our largest marketing spend to date with a number of tie-ups with Rugby League."
“With the RFL, we have announced the Kingstone Press Championships and also our position as an Official Partner of the England Rugby League team – something we are particularly excited about as England and Wales hosts the Rugby League World Cup this autumn.”