One Stanley Thatcher pioneered cider science on his farm and vouched for innovative methods of apple growth and cider production, and as the industry followed suit, so too did several generations of the Thatcher family to grow an
iconic brand.

As Martin Thatcher, Managing Director and 4th generation cider maker, prepares to pass the baton to daughter Eleanor, currently a Fermentation Supervisor, they join Liz & Leila on “It Runs In The Family” to share how the family’s love, care and attention has helped to develop their now 500+ acre operations.

Martin and Eleanor also discuss the complexities of growing a team with the same strong values as the family members themselves, the sense of pride in the previous generations and the risks they took, and much more.

 This episode covers:

● How a generations-old business generates new ideas
● Focusing on organic development, and treasuring their talented team members
● Measuring your success by the generation that follows you
● The particularly arduous task of recruiting for a family business with strong values
● Keeping work and family life/disputes separate

Episode Highlights

“We’ve changed the whole way we’re growing apples, very much down to my father and his foresight of how we should be growing apples for the future, and the whole industry has moved in that direction. ” – 5:25 – Martin Thatcher

“Farming is still in my blood. I absolutely love getting out around the farm and going out in the trees and, as Eleanor says, this time of year the blossom is out in the trees – there is nowhere better on earth to be.” – 8:25 – Martin Thatcher

“As my father retreated back into the farming and I moved on, I look after all of it. I can see the same happening with Eleanor, where she’s looking after the fermentation. She can look after a bit more and a bit more on a bit more until eventually, I’m just the backup team.” – 17:25 – Martin Thatcher

“I think you both understand what it’s like to be a family member working in the business, and how everyone else sees you in that space. So I think that there’s been a few moments where we’ve got what each other is feeling with respect to certain things.” – 26:30 – Eleanor Thatcher

“I think recruitment and people are just so important in any business, but particularly in a family business. You have a set of values, things that make the business successful, which aren’t necessarily what happens generically through bigger corporate businesses.” – 40:00 – Martin Thatcher

“As a family we’ve taken risks others wouldn’t, which have helped us get to where we are – I still have that sense of pride in the brand.” – 41:10 – Eleanor Thatcher

“I think you learn that if you have a vision in your head for something, and then something happens, you’ve got to adapt. Coming from school and then into business, things happen that you just don’t expect and learning how to adapt to that is different.” – 57:45 – Eleanor Thatcher

“It’s a family business. It’s all intertwined. So if there is a disagreement, it can become very personal. So you have to be careful just to step back and go and have a nice business discussion. ” – 1:03:20 – Martin Thatcher

“I think every father dreams of being able to hand on things to your children, and your children are almost showing you the way to do things better.” – 1:05:35 –
Martin Thatcher

Listen to this podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, Google or Amazon