All roads lead to Somerset, at least they did this summer when a convoy of customers joined the team at H.R. Owen Specialist Cars for a trip to the Thatcher family farm in England’s cider county.
The Thatcher family enjoys a reputation as one of the finest cider producers in the world. And when you delve into the company’s history, that is no surprise. In fact, William Thatcher’s cider was so highly rated that back in 1904, his workers at Myrtle Farm were more than happy to receive a few jars of it as part of their pay.
The family still makes its now-world-famous cider at Myrtle Farm today, which was chosen as the destination for the H.R. Owen Specialist Cars summer drive out. And before arriving there, participants relished exercising their charges on some of Somerset’s finest country roads winding through the bucolic Mendip Hills.
On arriving at the farm, everyone was given a full tour of the distillery and had the chance to take a taster sip and learn more about the unique character of Thatcher’s range of ciders. “Our ciders are tasted every Friday by our cider makers,” explained the tour guide. “Only when they say it is ready – and only then – is the cider blended ready for packaging. It’s not an exact science, so we may leave it to mature for a bit longer to ensure it’s perfect. That’s why we call it a craft.”
More than 40 tonnes of apples straight from the family orchards can be pressed in a single day. After the eight-day fermentation process is complete, the cider is matured in elevena 150-year-old oak vats standing more than 30 feet tall, with the largest capable of holding 135,500 pints.
After the tour, those travelling home in the passenger seat had the opportunity to enjoy more of Thatcher’s famous product at the nearby Railway Inn. This beautifully restored traditional country pub has been at the heart of Sandford village for more than 140 years and is the ideal escape for expertly crafted food and cider pairings.
Following a fine lunch enjoyed by all, it was time to fire up the engines and head for home, concluding an excellent day out, which was, as they say in Somerset, a ‘proper job.’