Bulmers, the cider maker, is a traditional company whose workers are in for the long haul. More than 300, nearly one third of the work force have been here for more than 20 years. A long distance lorry driver says he has been in the same job for 37 years. He is one of the 50 drivers and says that 'in all my years of service, I have never known anyone to leave except for retirement’.
Bulmers has been a fixture in the town of Hereford on the banks of the River Wye since 1887, when Percy Bulmer, son of a local vicar, began making cider.
It has 60% of the cider market - an industry that consumes 45% of the apples grown in Britain. The company's main brands are Strongbow, Woodpecker, Scrumpy Jack and White Lightening.
Workers enjoy a broad range of benefits. They do a 35 hour week, get an annual bonus and a share of the profits, and have an on site gym and a medical centre that runs regular health screenings. They also have the comfort of knowing that Bulmers will never make compulsory redundancies.
The Bulmer family still controls 49% of the company but the shares now trade on the London Stock Exchange. Two years ago a new chief executive Mike Hughes was recruited from Guinness. He has announced some ambitious goals, to boost sales from £294m to £1 billion by increasing the cider market in Britain and by pushing Bulmers' overseas sales from 20% to 50% of the total.
The company has acquired two firms in America, opened a cider plant in South Africa and formed a partnership to develop a cider market in China.
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