Devon cider maker triples its tipples

An eighth-generation cider brewer whose handcrafted beverages are stocked by Wetherspoons has tripled production capacity and expects to boost sales by 20% this year – all after securing a £50,000 hire purchase facility from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Family-run business, Hunt’s Cider, is based in Totnes and uses locally-grown Devon apples to create its award-winning traditional and flavoured ciders, which are supplied to household names including The Co-operative Group, Wetherspoon and the National Trust.

After experiencing increased demand for its range in line with the growing popularity of premium and fruit ciders in the UK, the management team at Hunt’s decided to invest in a new pressing mill which crushes 24 tonnes of apples in a day, turning-out three times as much cider as its predecessor. The finance provided by Lloyds Bank forms part of its pledge to lend up to £1.5bn to South West businesses during 2019.

The brand now expects to boost sales by 20% in the remainder of the year, and has set its sights on more contracts with major retailers.

Richard Hunt, managing director at Hunt’s Cider, said: “Our family has been making award-winning cider for more than 200 years and our products are known and loved across the country. We have a loyal following, and in order to continue to build on this, it’s important that we move with the times.

“Investing in a new mill will not only allow us to scale-up production and increase revenue but make our wonderful cider available to even more people in the UK.

“Lloyds Bank has been our banking partner since the 1950s, and has always stood by our side and fully understands the needs of our business and growth ambitions.

Timothy Burston, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Hunt’s Cider is a great example of a business with a proud heritage but whose entrepreneurial spirit has seen it move with the times and respond to evolving consumer tastes. The team has spotted the opportunity presented by the surge in demand for quality alcoholic beverages in recent years and is capitalising on it.

“Hunt’s Cider has immense potential in a buoyant market sector, and we are excited to help other firms like this in the years ahead to help Britain prosper.”