Back in 1959 Melvyn Sharland joined Taunton Cider and what a tale to tell…especially on National Intergenerational Week…
Melvyn’s father was a bus driver who used to take the Taunton Cider workers on a bus trip team building jolly once a year. It’s on one of these drives that he asked them if they had any work going for 16year old Melvyn. Melvyn was offered an apprenticeship where he’d go to the brand-new Taunton College to study electrical engineering and the rest of the time, help with all the maintenance jobs at the factory. His days would start with feeding chickens and collecting eggs and once qualified he saw the business evolve from wooden barrels, to flagons, to glass bottles, to kegs, to cans, to plastic bottles and over the period of just under 39 years ended up being in charge of 28 engineers working with a team of over 500, in charge of packing 25 pallets of 3l per hr, 25 pallets of 2l bottle per hr, 360000 bottles per hr and 700 cans per min!
This vast amount of experience and love of taking machines apart and putting them back together was passed on to Melvyn’s son Gary. Gary would come to Taunton with his father when the two coal fired boilers were taken apart once a year to be inspected and put back together. It was this which fuelled his own engineer training, at the same college as his father before him. At least 50% of Gary’s career has been spent as a contractor at Taunton. Gary is an established engineering consultant supporting cider makers far and wide. Yet his roots are in Taunton, so it comes as no surprise that son Harry followed his forefathers’ footsteps and joined the Taunton Cider legacy. Harry, who went to Bristol University to study engineering now works in the factory warehouse, making sure all the deliveries go out far and wide across the country.
Melvyn is fiercely proud of his career and family ties with Taunton Cider and feels lucky to have seen the company evolve throughout the ages. He’s excited for the future of the company, seeing the work we are doing in terms of bringing the old Stewley Orchard back to it’s former glory. Taunton Cider are delighted to have three generations of the Sharland family work at the factory and who knows, maybe one day there will be a forth!