Sandford Orchards

With help from SWMAS, this Devon-based cider manufacturer meets soaring customer demand!

Having offered this cider manufacturer support in the past, SWMAS approached them during the recent UK lockdown to see if they required any help to get them through these challenging times. As the COVID-19 crisis progressed, it appeared that a lot of alcohol-related businesses had switched to making hand sanitiser. However, Sandford Orchards were too busy fulfilling customer orders for existing products to consider this potential opportunity.

Having recently invested in a new e-commerce website, and using social media to increase brand awareness, they were achieving high volumes of orders from consumers who wanted to enjoy their products from home whilst pubs, restaurants, and other outlets are closed. As cans are light and can be transported more efficiently than bottles, this packaging was the preferred choice to meet the current high demand. But, unfortunately, production was limited as companies offering canning services were all over-capacity, so the move to bring canning in-house began.

SWMAS delivered a business review and provided a grant to support the purchase of a new, state of the art, canning line, enabling the business to ramp up production.

The whole funding process was carried out remotely, and the line was successfully installed within two months. There was a need to progress quickly and SWMAS helped to ensure that the process moved forward swiftly.

With the machinery in place to meet increased demand, Sandford Orchard turned their attention to giving the product range a completely fresh look. Customers have been successfully tempted by social media posts promising something new in early June 2020 – just in time for the summer season.

It has been a delight to work with Barny and his team throughout this project and to see how they have adapted and changed their business model in difficult circumstances to meet a changing demand. It’s always refreshing when businesses listen to the voice of the customer and provide what they want, and Sandford Orchards have manged to do this successfully with fantastic results.

Phil Halse, Manufacturing Specialist

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Support has been provided through the High-Value Manufacturing Advisory Programme (HVMAP) in the Heart of the South West, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Fully-funded business development support and grants are available to small and medium-sized manufacturing companies across the South West - read more here.