The old man leaves his Message in a bottle There are few drinks companies that can take the kind of long term view that niche producer Aspall has done in plans to develop a cider brand. The company has been family owned for several generations, and is currently run by two brothers Barry and Henry Chevallier Guild. Barry says: "What we are doing with cider will be our legacy for the next generation. We are not under pressure to produce short term results so we can concentrate on making a consistently good product." The East Anglian company spent seven years working on its Suffolk Cider range and put it in a bottle based on one last used by Barry and Henry's great great grandfather in the 1920s. "We know we cannot compete with other people's big budgets so our efforts have gone on innovative packaging," says Barry. The 50cl bottles sell at the premium price of £1.79 and the positioning appears to be right because it has listings with Sainsbury and Safeway. The company's main business is as a supplier of vinegar and bulk apple juice. It is also a founder member of the Soil Association and has 90 acres of organic orchards, which led it to introduce an organic cider into the range which went into Sainsbury last month. Barry says: "We are differentiating ourselves from the main producers. They are now a long way from the traditional methods of making cider. "We are in a tiny niche. What would be fantastic sales for us, the big guys would not look at." {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}