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Please buy local – cider company

News | Published:

THERE has never been a more important time to buy and support local companies, the owner of Rocquette Cider has said.

Rocquette Cider's James Meller is calling on islanders to support local companies such as his as they try to stay afloat in the coronavirus crisis. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 27688043)

In 1998, the Meller family began planting apple trees with the vision of making local cider.

Now, they have around 5,500 trees and have been selling cider throughout the Channel Islands for 20 years.

After a successful 2019, owner and manager James Meller said the coronavirus had thrown some real challenges at the business.

Last year, more than 2,000 kegs of cider were sold and a lot of investment and hard work had taken place to push the business forward.

‘We’re only really one week deep and it’s already been a big shock to the business,’ Mr Meller said.

He emphasised how important it was that people supported local businesses, particularly now to help them survive to the end of the coronavirus crisis.

‘The business is a bit up in the air at the moment, now that pubs and clubs are closed all draught sales have finished but we’ve still got tanks full of cider and we’re not sure if we’ll still be able to have the bottles packed in the UK.’

Mr Meller said that the business will have to do everything it can to survive, such as home deliveries.

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‘I’ve been talking to the various States departments about what support there is, but I don’t know exactly what will happen yet – all I know is it needs to happen quickly.’

Mr Meller said there was a hope that things will return to normal by August ready for the harvest.

‘I’m just working my way through options at the moment, but the solution hasn’t presented itself yet.

‘I want to look after my staff, they work so hard and I want to make sure everybody has a job still.’

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SandpiperCI has made a huge purchase, which will be in its franchise stores.

Managing director of Channel Islands retail Mike Rutter said: ‘We already stocked four lines of Rocquette Cider but have added another and we placed an order for 750 cases.

‘We have done this all at cost, we are not trying to make money from this. We just want to help local businesses where we can and this was one way we saw to do it.’

The order was several times the size of normal ones and items will be put on promotion to encourage more islanders to buy local.

‘I am so grateful for Sandpiper’s help in this, their support is massively important to us always, and particularly at this time,’ said Mr Meller.

Zoe Fitch

By Zoe Fitch
News reporter

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