31/03/2020

Award-winning Herefordshire craft cider maker switches to direct online selling | Agriculture and Estates

Thursfields team standing by a mound of apples

backed by advice from Thursfields…

With the nation’s pubs shut down by the coronavirus outbreak, one family-owned Herefordshire cider-maker is moving to direct online sales to protect jobs and the future of the business.

Based on the farm in Bishops Frome their family has run for more than a century, Sue Vaughan and her brother Robert Hancocks have developed a range of ciders and perrys that have won awards at home and abroad, from the USA to Japan.

Their Celtic Marches craft cider business can produce up to three million litres a year, but almost all of its sales were to the pub and restaurant trade.

“Those sales simply dried up when coronavirus forced the pub trade to shut down,” said Sue Vaughan.

“We needed a new route to market, so it made sense to launch a new off-sales business, selling direct to the public, through our website.”

Helped by the firm’s long-term legal advisers Thursfields, Celtic Marches is now open for business on-line at https://celtic-marches.myshopify.com/ with free delivery to UK mainland addresses.

Celtic Marches will also be donating 5% of all sales made through their online store to the NHS Covid 19 Urgent Appeal.

Sue Vaughan said: “It was vital to us to preserve the jobs of the 25 people who work for the business, whether they are full-time, part-time or on contract. They are the heart and soul of our business – it wouldn’t exist without them – and we want all the people who are with us at the start of this crisis to be with us when we come out the other side.

“The money from a lot of the current Government support schemes won’t come through for some time and we needed to move now to protect the business and our people.

“Our range of ciders, such as Thundering Molly and Ruby Tuesday, have built a tremendous following so we know there is demand, it’s just a case of fulfilling that demand ourselves rather than through the pubs.

“At the moment a drop of good Herefordshire craft cider is just what people need to get them through these tough times.

“We have had tremendous support through the current emergency from Nick O’Hara and the team at Thursfields Solicitors, but that is just a continuation of the support they have always given us. We are in almost constant contact with them over one project or another and they are always there for us; nothing is too much trouble.”

Nick O’Hara, managing director of Thursfields Solicitors, said: “We have a long-standing relationship with Sue, Robert and everyone at Celtic Marches. It has been a pleasure being able to provide legal advice to enable their business growth and, in these difficult times, it is vitally important that companies like theirs can rely on the continued support of professional services like those from Thursfields.”

Jon Clifford, director and head of agricultural and rural affairs at Thursfields, added: “Celtic Marches is in the finest tradition of family-run businesses – fast on their feet with a no-nonsense approach to decision making.

“Herefordshire’s cider makers are having to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances and the team at Celtic Marches have not let the grass grow under their feet. At Thursfields we can provide the specialist advice that companies need at times like this and Celtic Marches are a great example for others to follow.”

For rural and agricultural legal advice, contact Jon Clifford, jclifford@thursfields.co.uk or telephone 01905 730 486.

Jon Clifford - Colour 2

Jon Clifford,

Director, Agricultural and Rural Affairs

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