1916 / THE BEGINNING
Word of mouth was, and still is a powerful marketing agent. It was not long before other public houses were carrying Sam Inch’s cider. Over the next few years, business grew, although business was steady, he still looked at his cider making as a hobby, his first occupation as a coachman and second a postman, this was through the inter-war years.
His reputation as a cider maker grew, and his business could have taken off at this time if was not for the fact aggressive marketing was not part of the Sam Inch style.
1952 / INCHES POURED INTO BOTTLES
Many local people were taken on as staff, including a young David Bridgman In 1966 at the age of 15, Sam and David worked very closely with each other and formed a very close friendship. David worked alongside Sam and gained a very precious skill.
Sam’s son Derek Inch entered into the business and made some changes, one included marketing, which pushed the business and increased sales. Inch’s was now distributed all over the British Isles, Middle East, Europe and United States.
1988 / MORE GROWTH
Derek sold Inch’s in 1988, and was brought out.
The next ownership turned the company into a multi million pound business. Over the next few years it put Winkleigh on the map. Producing many different ciders including White Lighting and Stonehouse. Business was good and sales were worldwide.
1998 / BULMERS
The next 2 years were fairly shaded, profits declined and staff numbers dwindled. Then in September 1998, Inch’s (owned by Bulmer’s) announced that it was to close the cider making site. This was a massive blow for everyone, including locals and staff. All but 4 of the 100 year old oak vats were destroyed.