Pubs around the country have celebrated the delights of cider after two Suffolk companies struck up a partnership that is already bearing fruit.

"Two of Suffolk’s best-known companies working together"

Greene King Pub Partners teamed up with cider producer Aspall to offer tenanted pubs the chance to hold Aspall Garden Party cider festivals in their gardens and make the most of the summer weather.

Pubs across the country signed up for the festivals, which received guaranteed support from Aspall on the day and in the run-up to the events. The events came about following the launch of Greene King’s events toolkit earlier this summer.

The Long Melford Swan is owned by Greene King but the business itself is run by Stuart Inns, which also operates The Hadleigh Ram and the Lavenham Greyhound.

The pub, which is just a short drive from the headquarters of both the Bury St Edmunds brewery and the Stonham Aspall factory, held a cider festival which manager Rachael Brown described as fabulous’.

“We had lots of people here and Aspall brought lots of garden games that were great for the children,” she said. “We had a cocktail menu that incorporated Aspall. You got a cocktail on arrival and we had ones with apple juice for the children.

“It’s definitely something we’ll consider doing again. The people from Aspall were extremely professional.”

Another pub to take part was The Fishes, on the outskirts of Oxford, where manager Sam Terry said the event exceeded his already high expectations. One highlight he picked out was a printing machine that allowed people to have their photograph printed on an Aspall bottle label.

He said: “It was fantastic. The guys turned up at about 2pm and got the site ready. People loved having the opportunity to get their face on an Aspall bottle.

“We could do it very quickly, you just needed to have your photo taken and then the photo was printed out in the style of an Aspall label. It was very popular and there were lots of garden games. It was good fun and got everyone involved, adults and children alike.

“It was definitely better than I expected and I would definitely, 100%, do it again.”

The Greene King How to Manage an Event toolkit was distributed to all of the Pub Partners operators and gave them crucial support in planning, hosting and evaluating an event at their pub. The support included specially-tailored help for beer, cider or gin events, with Aspall helping run the garden parties.

Clive Chesser, Managing Director of Greene King Pub Partners, said: “This is a great partnership that we’re pleased has provided such excellent support to pubs. To have two of Suffolk’s best-known companies working together has been extremely rewarding.

“At Greene King Pub Partners, we aim to work with our key suppliers to create excellent opportunities for our partners and the event support package was a key project we wanted to offer them earlier this year.

“I’m delighted by the positive feedback and by the knowledge that partnership working really opens up lots of opportunities for pubs to launch new events that bring in new customers and also offer something different for regulars.”

Cider festival at the Swan in Long Melford, Suffolk