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Heineken £58million investment good news for Bulmer

04 April 2014

Apple growers who supply Hereford-based HP Bulmer have been given a welcome boost after Heineken, which owns the brand, announced a £58million investment in the county.

Capacity at the HP Bulmer site, which already uses a third of the UK’s apples, will be expanded and it will also take on packaging roles from Universal Beverages. But that will mean job losses at UB’s Ledbury home, which will only operate as a fruit milling site. Changes are due to be completed by 2015.

Heineken says the investment demonstrates the company’s commitment to keeping the county as the ‘global home of cider’ and will secure hundreds of jobs. Bulmer will increase its already vast consumption of apples – it takes up to 30% of the UK crop – showing faith in growers who have been investing rapidly in replanting orchards up and down the country.

Last week, the Western Daily Press reported fears in the cider industry that thousands of acres of orchards may have been ruined in the floods, with damage potentially only shown by crops dramatically fail later in the season.

But a spokesman for industry body Cider UK said there were few concerns about increased demand from the Bulmer expansion.

“We don’t yet know the extent of any damage to crops by the floods and winter weather, but most of the growers that supply Bulmer were relatively unaffected,” Simon Russell told the Daily Press yesterday.

“Growers have been actively planting orchards for a few years now and there will be enough apples coming on line in years to come.”

Ledbury town and county councillor Liz Harvey said of job losses at UBL: “Clearly it’s concerning on the jobs front. It’s one of the major employers in Ledbury and I would like to see it continue to be a key employment site.”

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