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East Lothian-based cider maestros Thistly Cross have teamed up with Shetland & Orkney wholesaler JW Gray to develop and distribute the first ever Up Helly Aa Cider for the 2017 Fire Festival season.
Due to be formally launched at Lerwick’s Grand Hotel in Shetland on 30 and 31 January, this new 5.5% abv special edition will be on sale in local pubs and shops through JW Gray.
Thistly Cross’ own Orcadian Viking Luke Fenton said the idea for the cider came via Thistly’s friendship with Lerwick’s Up Helly Aa 2017 Guizer Jarl, Lyall Gair.
“Lyall’s been loving Thistly since the beginning, helping out at shows across the UK with his excellent keg-handling skills and spreading the word about Thistly Cross,” said Fenton. “When Lyall told us he was Guizer Jarl, Thistly was keen to return the cider karma! As a small company making craft cider, we love good events with good folk, and what better way to honour a great friend of ours as he begins his year as Guizer Jarl.”
Iain Johnston, Director of J.W.Gray & Co said: “We were delighted to support Thistly Cross with this fantastic tasting Scottish Craft cider. At Gray’s we strive to introduce new and exciting products into the Shetland and Orkney marketplace, and have been overwhelmed by the response we’ve received from the trade. Locals and visitors alike will be able to enjoy this product at most venues during Up Helly Aa.”
The launch of “Up Helly Aa” cider will be further enhanced with tastings on board Northlink ferries. These are currently scheduled for Viking ships MV Hrossey and MV Hjaltland on 29 January and 2 Febuary, as Orcadian Luke travels to support Up Helly Aa and introduce Thistly’s newest special edition to both residents and visitors.
Thistly’s Up Helly Aa cider is available in cider-boxes through JW Gray (tel: 01595 693749) and to the public through local pubs and good local shops throughout Shetland. It’s a pale golden, smooth, still cider, with an initially light apple taste which develops into a slightly dry finish. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, it is gluten-free.