As part of continued investment in its world-class production sites, Aston Manor Cider has installed a new filling and packing line which will dramatically increase the production of their award-winning cider in bag-in- box and mini-keg formats.
The £400k system, which has been installed at the Tiverton site in Devon, has a twin filler arrangement to permit filling of both bag-in- box and mini-keg formats. Aston Manor produce both their Friels and Knights ciders in mini-keg and bag-in- box formats.
The line has capability to fill 2.25l bag-in- box up to 20l to cater for both the take home and on-trade. The new system will help meet the 1,000% increase in demand for bag-in- box cider that the business has seen over the last year.
Unlike other producers, the Aston Manor investment means handling the product at an ambient temperature. Bag-in- box cider is commonly “hot filled” to achieve sterility but this can affect the flavour of the product. With the system at Tiverton, the cider retains all of its character and reaches consumers fresh and flavoursome as originally crafted by master cider maker Rod Clifford.
The new fully automated party keg filler will allow for 200 units to be filled an hour and all within a HEPA filtered environment to minimise contamination risk – allowing Aston Manor Cider to support retailers driving interest in this format.
Glen Friel, sales and marketing director at Aston Manor Cider said: “This investment is a tremendous opportunity for us.
“Taking packaging in-house increases flexibility which allows for further product innovation.
“Previously, it would not have been possible produce small runs of limited edition ciders in the 20l bag-in- box format. Now, we can work with customers to support their sales ambitions.
“It also allows us to support brewers with ambitions to package in mini-kegs, as the system is compatible with both beer and cider.
“The first run of Friels mini-kegs have also been incredibly popular and we look forward to exploiting that format further across our other award-winning ciders.”
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