Premium Cyder specialists Aspall, is one of the ten oldest family businesses in the UK. For the past eight years, Doosan’s Pro-5 forklifts have helped to bring a little extra fizz to the 285 year old Suffolk site.
Founded in 1728 by Clement Chevallier, Aspall Suffolk Cyder is owned and operated by the eighth generation of the Chevallier family.
Taking it’s inspiration from the apple tree for three centuries, the company produces a range of award-winning cyders, vinegars and apple juice, and is now the UK’s oldest independently-owned cider producer and the last remaining English owned family vinegar brewer.
Eight year partnership
A Doosan forklift user for over eight years, Aspall lay claim to an impressive heritage in cyder making and place a great deal of emphasis on establishing long-term relationships with suppliers.
Set amongst 90 acres of organic orchards, Aspall Suffolk Cyder has been produced at the same site in Debenham, Suffolk since 1728.
The origin of the business is now the stuff of legend. Before settling in leafy Suffolk, the Chevalliers were Hugenot residents of Jersey, having left France to flee Catholic Persecution.
At some point they were involved in the Crusades and, as associates of the Knights Templar, they earned the family name as knights on horseback, which translates as ‘chevaliers’.
A heritage of Cyder making
During exile, the family started to miss their favourite tipple so much that Clement Chevalier is said to have arranged for the original cyder press stonewheel to be imported all the way from France. It was then dragged via horse and cart from Ipswich. Fortunately logistics has moved on somewhat since then!
Today the premium cyder brand is a recognised leader in its field and is exported across the globe. The brand has somewhat of a cult following and even counts celebrities such as rapper Professor Green and comedian Ade Emondson as fans of the brand. Aspalls is distributed to countries as far-flung as the United States, Thailand, Germany, France, Ireland, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.
The confluence of heritage, modern production techniques and the desire for quality positions Aspall Cyder as one of the truly great British manufacturers.
“We don’t compromise on quality,” says Henry Chevallier Guild, who heads up the business together with his elder brother Barry,”if there isn’t that quality taste, we don’t make it.” Having time-honoured processes and a devotion to doing things the proper way does, however, create its own issues.
One of the constant challenges of owning such a rapidly developing business is finding enough space. Every inch needs to be utilised as best it can be, and new developments, like the recent addition of new fermentation tanks, have to be mindful of the adjacent family home.
The elegant, moated, Aspall Hall has been owned by Chevallier family since 1702 and is an integral part of the companies infrastructure. The site features a pressing room, water treatment plants, bottling and storage areas.
When operating a fork lift truck at Aspall you require careful negotiation skills as well as expert understanding of how the vehicle works. That’s why the simplicity and maneuverability of the Doosan truck proved more popular than the other complicated machines that were featured in demonstrations.
“When you have a business steeped in tradition and heritage,” adds Henry,”you tend to place a lot of emphasis on establishing good working relationships over the long-term. We are obviously growing as a business, and that means we need a supplier that can support us with reliable, cost-effective equipment.”
Some new modifications have been included on this latest delivery of the two and three tonnes capacity machines. Most kegs have been moved off site, but a small run of kegs continue for export. Wayward kegs can prove dangerous, if a keg was to fall on someone it would almost certainly be fateful.
To keep them in their place the load back rests were modified, and an additional roof guard adds an extra level of protection to the operators.
Doosan Fork Lift Trucks
Aspalls isn’t the only business with a rich heritage. When Doosan was founded in 1896, it was the first modern local store in Korea. But by the early 1950s, they were already engaged in the retail and brewing trades. Now, over 90 percent of revenue derives from technology businesses. The company also holds a number of export, design & safety awards, including four Forklift Truck Association awards for Design Excellence.
Building rugged, reliable, yet simple trucks, has allowed Doosan to become the leading provider of value forklifts. The range of electric, LPG and diesel Pro-5 models is Doosan’s most successful ever, with a host of features including trademark oil cooled disk brakes, integral sideshift as standard, plus award-winning safety features and class-leading ergonomics.
It all means that companies like Aspall can rely on the best possible equipment for their businesses. And with recipes handed down through generations, methods developed through centuries of careful development as well as the latest equipment at their finger tips, the future sweet success of Aspall is no doubt guaranteed.