Scottish operators get set for a summery cider season

Operators tell SLTN they can always count on warmer weather to boost cider sales

SCOTTISH operators are stocking up the fridges and ordering in the kegs as they gear up for what’s expected to be another busy cider season. 

Operators in Appin, Glasgow and Balmaha told SLTN they can always expect to see cider sales pick up during the warmer weather, with customers of all ages opting for refreshing pints and bottles. 

David Brown, one of the team behind two bars in Glasgow – The Palais and the reigning SLTN Best Venue to Watch the Match, The Record Factory – said cider sales in both venues ‘skyrocket’ during the summer months. 

David Brown and Nicole Hendry of The Record Factory

“During the winter both of the bars are very spirit and pint heavy,” he said. 

“But that does start to change in the summer. You can almost be doing three times the volume of cider when the sun comes out. It’s the same with rosé and white wine as well. That slows down during the winter time. Then as soon as someone gets a bit of sunshine you cannot stop pouring Aperol spritzes, glasses of white and rosé wine. And the cider kicks back in then as well.”

Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime is on draught in both venues (with more flavours in the fridge), as well as Aspall and, at The Record Factory, Carling Black Fruits, which David said is particularly popular with the student crowd. 

The non-alcoholic version of Rekorderlig’s Strawberry & Lime has also proved popular with customers, according to David, who said there has been a growing demand for non-alcoholic drinks across the spectrum. 

“People want to be able to go further afield and drive, or they want to not have the hangovers at work the next day,” he said. 

“It’s a new generation. They don’t want to be hungover anymore, so we need to be able to put products in their hands that they can enjoy so that they still come to the pub.”

In Balmaha, Scottish brand Lost Orchards is the centrepiece at The Oak Tree Inn – SLTN’s reigning Gastropub of the Year. 

The team at The Oak Tree Inn, Balmaha

Group operations manager Steven Dobbin said the venue stocks the Lost Orchards apple cider on draught, with the company’s Red Berries & Lime and Dark Berries flavours in the fridge. 

“We love their story of ‘planting a pip for every sip’,” said Steven. “We are determined to do all we can on the race to Net Zero, so their attempts to restore the countryside, keeping cider production local and reducing delivery distance and therefore fuel usage, really fits nicely with our green credentials.”

Steven added that cider sales at The Oak Tree Inn “increase hugely when the sun shines”, with both the drier and sweeter variants performing well on sunnier days. 

Lost Orchards is also a feature at the Creagan Inn in Appin, where co-owner Jacqueline Nisbet said the brand proves popular with visitors to the area. 

Creagan Inn owners Jacqueline and James Nisbet

“I think the Lost Orchards is great because it’s a really nice dry, refreshing cider,” said Jacqueline. 

“So when we get cyclists or hillwalkers coming in and it’s a lovely hot day, they want something crisp and refreshing and there’s a big uptake from that. But because it’s quite a nice light drink it’s the sort of thing that people are sitting over an afternoon and they can maybe have two or three pints of it before they wander back to the caravan.”