Bulmers celebrates 80 years

The Bulmers team in 1939

Original Irish cider celebrates 80 years in business, during which time it has progressed from humble beginnings on Dowd’s Lane to state-of-the-art production facilities at Annerville

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22 December 2015 | 0

An apple delivery to the Bulmers plant

An apple delivery to the Bulmers plant

Maybe it’s partly because it’s nearly Christmas, but here at ShelfLife we love a little nostalgia and the chance to browse through old business photos. Fortunately, Bulmers’ 80th anniversary has given us an opportunity to do just that!

Bulmers Original Irish Cider is marking the end of its eighth decade with the news that the Clonmel cider-maker uses 25,000 tonnes of apples each year to make up 135 million litres of Irish cider. Bulmers uses only apples grown on farms across Ireland and exports to over 50 markets internationally, under the Magners brand name.

Undoubtedly Clonmel’s most famous export, the brand was established in the South Tipperary town by local man William Magner in 1935 and, 80 years on, says it has stayed true to the time-honoured practices associated with traditional cider-making.

The company's loading bay in 1965

The company’s loading bay in 1965

It all started when William Magner, who also lends his name to the export product, established a production facility on Dowd’s Lane in the heart of Clonmel having purchased an orchard on the outskirts of the town. Eighty years later, cider production is still a significant contributor to the local Clonmel economy although it has since moved from its humble beginnings on Dowd’s Lane to state-of-the-art production facilities at Annerville, which is right next to the 250 acres of Bulmers’ own orchards on the outskirts of the town.

Bulmers is distributed in Ireland by C&C Gleeson, one of the leading manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers to the Irish drinks industry. Tom McCusker, managing director of C&C Gleeson, said: “As an original we’ve always tried to lead through innovation and sometimes it’s the simple things that have the greatest impact, such as Bulmers over ice. Many people won’t remember a time when bottled Bulmers wasn’t served over ice, but it was Bulmers that created the now-famous ‘over ice’ image that has become so synonymous with how cider is served, the world over.”

Innovative launches in recent years include Bulmers Light (2003), Bulmers Pear (2009) and Bulmers Berry (2010). This year also saw the launch of Bulmers Forbidden Flavours, four new fruit infused ciders; a development which the company says is “helping to drive the cider category and keeping it fresh”. According to the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland, in the last 20 years, cider consumption has grown from less than 3% of the market to over 10% of the Irish market.

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