Westons Cider adds some extra sparkle to its sustainability credentials with ‘complete circle’ sourcing on CO2

  • Herefordshire-based cider maker finds another use for its locally sourced apples
  • Pomace from 29,500 tonnes of apples to be turned into CO2 locally…
  • Removing more than 10,000 road miles from Westons’ supply chain…
  • And safeguarding it from any chance of falling flat in case of further CO2 shortages 

Westons Cider, the UK’s leading authentic cider maker, is putting some extra fizz into its sustainability credentials – by turning leftover apple pomace into the carbon dioxide that gives its market-leading ciders, including Stowford Press and Henry Westons, their added sparkle.

The Herefordshire-based cider maker has created a ‘complete circle’ for its CO2 requirements after seeking out a new sourcing solution following last year’s severe shortages, which left other major beer and cider producers without the ability to carbonate their drinks.

“Thanks to our strong planning and sourcing credentials, we didn’t actually get caught out by last year’s shortage of food and drink grade CO2 ourselves,” explains Darryl Hinksman, Head of Business Development at Westons Cider. “But with every chance of further shortages in future[1], we decided it was time to look for a more sustainable solution closer to home.

“By effectively generating our own CO2 from our left-over apple pomace, not only are we guaranteeing our own long-term supply, we are also meeting our own sustainability objectives. This will immediately remove 10,000 road miles a year from our supply chain, as we will no longer need to take deliveries of CO2 from further afield.”

The solution has been brought to life through a new partnership with green energy specialist BioCarbonics Ltd and Hampton Bishop-based farmer Nicholas Layton, who have built a CO2 capture facility located just 10 miles away from Westons’ Much Marcle mill.  This partnership now utilises the pomace left behind from pressing 29,500 tonnes of apples for this year’s Westons ciders and converts it, along with other feedstocks, into sustainable CO2 and renewable methane through the process of anaerobic digestion.

Layton explains: “We had been looking at the possibility of turning food byproducts into food and drink grade sustainable CO2 for some time. So when we learned about Westons’ objectives to find a more sustainable solution for its carbonating requirements – both in terms of environmental considerations and guaranteed supply – we were keen to explore how we could take their left-over apple pomace and turn it into something much more useful.

“Naturally, we’re delighted to have found a solution that is an industry first, provides a one-stop and sustainable solution for Westons, and which could also have a much wider application across the drinks industry as a whole.”

To accommodate the output from the two companies’ new collaboration, which has been shored up under an initial five-year deal, Westons has built a second CO2 holding tank at its mill to ensure it always has enough gas on site to meet its needs.

Run by the fourth generation of the Westons family, Westons Cider has been producing premium quality cider from its mill in Herefordshire since 1880 and produces a range of popular brands including Henry Westons – the UK’s best-selling premium bottled cider – Stowford Press, Mortimer’s Orchard, Rosie’s Pig and Old Rosie.

Westons MD Helen Thomas – great granddaughter of company founder Henry Westons – adds: “As we enter our 140th anniversary year in 2020, we are proud to have been pioneers within the drinks industry since 1880, and it is important to us that we continue that ethos today.

“As a business, we have an ambition to grow our output to 60 million litres a year by 2022, up from our current level of around 47 million litres. But it’s also important to us that we grow the right way.

“By finding a complete circle solution on CO2, in addition to our continued commitment to sourcing the majority of our apples from Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, we are confident that we are maintaining the high standards that we have always set ourselves across every part of our business.”

[1] Food and drink grade CO2 is a by-product of the UK ammonia industry. But with plants often closing during the summer months for maintenance, further shortages are likely from time to time.