UK independent cider producer Aston Manor Cider is investing in a multi-million pound fruit processing facility at Stourport-on-Severn.
Apples have already been accepted for processing although it was expected that the development would first be used in time for the 2014 harvest.
Managing director Gordon Johncox said Stourport represents a significant investment in its own right. “However, it needs to be considered in light of the commitment we are making to our growers. On a conservative estimate, we will spend over £50m in the next 25 years on just the apples grown from the planting scheme," he said.
"While it will be a number of years before the new orchards yield a crop at the level we expect, we are adding some 350,000 trees to the landscape and we need to have the quality of infrastructure to cope with up to 30,000 tonnes of fruit each season in just a few years from now."
The new cider press will handle around 800 tonnes of fruit a day, six days a week throughout the harvest period. Aston Manor Cider said there is scope to extend the capacity of the new facility.
Most of the company’s orchards are in Herefordshire and Worcestershire and it grows a variety of cider apples, including Michelin, Kingston Black and Yarlington Mill. Its cider brands include Frosty Jack’s and Crumpton Oaks.