Bulmer’s Cider: a piece of 20th Century Hereford and Ireland History

I had been intending to post this article for a long while. It originally appeared on my now defunct Hereford and Ireland History site. This morning’s news about C&C reminded me about it and here it is.

It was in 1887 that Henry Percival (Percy) Bulmer began making cider using apples from his father’s orchard in Credenhill a few miles north of Hereford city. A year later he moved to premises in Maylord Street, next door to where the Hereford Times was printed and now the site of the Maylord Orchard shopping centre. The following year Percy was joined by his brother Fred and moved operations to Ryeland Street.

Over the following years the brothers learned more about cider making and grew their business, introducing Champagne cider based on techniques that Percy learned from Champagne makers in France.

Social Responsibility

Perhaps because of their upbringing as the sons of a rector, Fred in particular had a strong sense of social responsibility and, like the Guinness family in London, the Bulmers used some of the wealth generated by their brewing business to provide social housing in Hereford. The company also pioneered the introduction of pension schemes and sick leave for employees.

In 1935 in Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland, William Magner began producing cider from Irish apples. It was not long before he entered negotiations with H.P.Bulmer and Company in Hereford and in 1937 he acquired the license to market cider under the Bulmers name in Ireland.

Take Overs

The company Cantrell and Cochrane was founded in Belfast in 1884 and in the early part of the twentieth century was a producer of soft drinks. In 1955, in an attempt to market a rival to Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola it acquired the rights to 740 movies originally made by RKO and used these to promote C&C Cola. Renamed C&C and head-quartered in Dublin, the company moved

into alcoholic beverages and snack foods, acquiring Tennents brewery in Scotlan

d, Tayto Crisps and the Bulmers cider business in Ireland. Bulmers Irish cider is now marketed in the UK and most of the rest of the world as Mag


Meanwhile H.P Bulmer was taken over in 2003 by Scottish and Newcastle Brewery which in turn was acquired by Heineken. He

reford remains home to the largest alcohol container in the world: Strongbow, a 15 million gallon cider tank!