WESTONS Cider is putting some extra fizz into its sustainability credentials by turning leftover apple pomace into carbon dioxide that gives its ciders their sparkle.

The Much Marcle-based cider maker has created a ‘complete circle’ for its CO2 requirements after seeking out a new sourcing solution following last year’s severe shortages, which left other producers without the ability to carbonate their drinks.

“Thanks to our strong planning and sourcing credentials, we didn’t actually get caught out by last year’s shortage of food and drink grade CO2 ourselves,” said Darryl Hinksman, head of business development.

“But with every chance of further shortages in future, we decided it was time to look for a more sustainable solution closer to home.

“By effectively generating our own CO2 from our left-over apple pomace, not only are we guaranteeing our own long-term supply, we are also meeting our own sustainability objectives.

“This will immediately remove 10,000 road miles a year from our supply chain, as we will no longer need to take deliveries of CO2 from further afield.”

The solution has been brought to life through a new partnership with green energy specialist BioCarbonics Ltd andHampton Bishop-based farmer Nicholas Layton, who have built a CO2 capture facility located just 10 miles away from Westons’ Much Marcle mill.

This partnership now utilises the pomace left behind from pressing 29,500 tonnes of apples, mostly sourced in the Three Counties, for this year’s Westons ciders and converts it, along with other feedstocks, into sustainable CO2 and renewable methane through the process of anaerobic digestion.

Layton explains: “We had been looking at the possibility of turning food by-products into food and drink grade sustainable CO2 for some time. So, when we learned about Westons’ objectives to find a more sustainable solution for its carbonating requirements, both in terms of environmental considerations and guaranteed supply, we were keen to explore how we could take their left-over apple pomace and turn it into something much more useful.

“Naturally, we’re delighted to have found a solution that is an industry first, provides a one-stop and sustainable solution for Westons, and which could also have a much wider application across the drinks industry as a whole.”

Run by the fourth generation of the Westons family, Westons Cider has been producing premium quality cider from its mill in Herefordshire since 1880 and produces a range of popular brands including Henry Westons, Stowford Press, Mortimer’s Orchard, Rosie’s Pig and Old Rosie.

Westons’ managing director, Helen Thomas, the great granddaughter of company founder Henry Westons, added: “As we enter our 140th anniversary year in 2020, we are proud to have been pioneers within the drinks industry since 1880, and it is important to us that we continue that ethos today.”