Aston Manor, the UK’s largest independent cider maker with a production site in Stourport-on-Severn, hosted the Mayor and Mayoress of Stourport as the apple pressing season came to a close.
Councillor Ken Henderson and Lin Henderson were on hand to see the last of 7,300 tonnes of apples pressed to enable the producers to make ciders like Kingstone Press and Friels First Pressed Vintage.
This represents an 18% increase in fruit processed in just 12 weeks versus last year at the Nelsons Wharf site.
Setting a new record for a single day, the team at Aston Manor Cider pressed 280 tonnes on one occasion over the recent weeks – equivalent to over 3.1 million apples squeezed to provide the juice to make cider.
Councillor Henderson said: “This was one of the best and most interesting visits we have attended in my Mayoral year.
“Myself and my wife were so impressed by the turning of apples into a delicious glass of cider. I first learned of Aston Manor plans in Stourport three or four years ago. The transformation from those plans to the quality of operation now evident is amazing.
“When I saw cider being sold on the shelves in leading supermarkets around the country which is produced in Stourport, I felt I needed to pay a visit"
Hosted by Paul Clifford, manufacturing director at Aston Manor, the pair learned of future plans to develop the site to accommodate even more fruit and also a recent international award success that acknowledges the sustainable practices employed at the site.
Paul Clifford said: “As a business we have funded over 1,000 acres of new orchards in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. That equates to 400,000 trees planted and as they bear fruit we have to able to cope with that volume of apples in the very narrow window that harvest affords us.
“Over the 25 years of the contracts awarded to farmers we will pay more than £50m for the fruit that will be milled at Stourport. In a few years each season in just 12 weeks we aim to be processing 25,000 tonnes of apples – more than three times what we have achieved this year.”
As well as celebrating a successful harvest period the team at the site are proud of the international recognition received for the unique environmental solution that has transformed the water usage at the Cider Mill.
Winning the Drinks Business Green Awards’ Water Management category has been one of 17 major accolades the business has scooped in 2016, with a further five finalist places being secured.
The achievements recognise Aston Manor’s excellent quality of products and high production standards.
Each of the company’s sites, which include Birmingham and Tiverton in Devon, has also been recognised with the British Retail Consortium’s highest accreditation for excellence in food and drink production.
Paul Clifford added: “Although we’ve earned 17 awards this year we are not complacent. We strive to lead by example and as the UK’s largest independent cider maker this means that our business, and the people within it, will continue to deliver at an exceptional standard.”
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