Thatchers Cider has come under fire after it was revealed that its managing director, Martin Thatcher, is a member of a merchant’s society with “deep roots in the historical slave trade in Bristol”.
The fourth-generation Somerset cider maker has been a member of the private association, Society of Merchant Venturers (SMV), since 2012. The society has historic links to slave trader, Edward Colston, who was also a member in the 17th century.
Countering Colston is the campaign group that first called for a boycott of the cider brand, launching a ‘Don’t Buy Thatchers’ campaign at the beginning of the month. “The SMV has deep roots in the historical slave trade in Bristol, and its members were responsible for the suffering and death of tens of thousands of human beings,” the organisation tweeted.
“The Society of MVs is an elite private members club of which Edward Colston was a prominent member. They have been heavily responsible for the continued celebrations of the slaver in Bristol,” the group continued.
In light of these statements, three pubs in the city of Bristol have stopped serving the cider, including The Red Lion, The Plough Inn and The Chelsea.
Commenting on the story, Martin Thatcher said: “The Society of Merchant Venturers does fantastic work for people across Bristol in a way fitting and relevant for our lives today. During the time I have been a member of the society, I have been able to contribute to the valuable, philanthropic work they do across Bristol, from caring for our older people to educating our young people.”
“As a relative newcomer to the society, I hope I’ve been able to bring a fresh perspective to thinking, in particular as to how the SMV needs to acknowledge what has happened in the past, yet continue to do its fantastic work for people across all Bristol communities. Thatchers has received incredible support this week from people both in Bristol and across the country and I feel personally very humbled by the generous comments we’ve been receiving,” he continued.
Thatcher added: “I see my role within the SMV as working with other members to help improve people’s lives in communities across the city of Bristol and to drive change for today”.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2022
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